The Women’s British Open at Royal Troon, Scotland, is set to be played behind closed doors from Aug 20-23, the R&A announced on Tuesday.
The Major Championship will be the first women’s tournament to return after the coronavirus pandemic halted play in April, providing the “necessary approvals” are secured.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, said: “The AIG Women’s British Open is important to the success of women’s professional golf. We have been working closely with our title sponsor AIG, Visit Scotland, Royal Troon and our key advisors to find a way for the Championship to be played safely this year.
“We believe that playing the AIG Women’s British Open is a significant step for players whose playing opportunities have been severely impacted this year. As they compete to be the 2020 champion in historic circumstances, these athletes will continue to inspire golfers and sports fans around the world, who will be closely following events from Royal Troon on TV and social media.”
As part of COVID-19 safety protocols, the Championship will create a “bio secure zone,” and allow a reduced number of people who are essential to the operation including: players, caddies, officials, and staging staff.
To be allowed on-site, a negative COVID-19 test from an authorised testing centre must be returned, and in addition to limited movements between the golf course and the hotel, all players and staff will be subject to further tests and temperature checks “to maintain the integrity of the zone and the health of those within it.”
The R&A said they will continue to monitor the pandemic conditions and “work closely with the Scottish and UK governments and the health authorities to ensure the Championship is staged safely.”
Leading players from the Women’s Golf Rankings and individual players from recent world tournaments will be invited after qualifying events for the championship were cancelled.
The R&A announced on Tuesday it will host a virtual ‘The Open for The Ages’ after the tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Rose Ladies Series begun last month after Kate and Justin Rose invested in a women-only series to offer an “opportunity to play and to be ready for when the opportunities arise later in the summer.”