To: R&A CHAMPIONSHIPS LTD
Open fans say "No" to R&A's "No-readmissions" policy
We request the R&A to allow fans with general admission and hospitality tickets to leave the Open course venue and re-enter the same day without having to pay again. This will restore the 150+ year old tradition of allowing paying fans to enjoy the full golfing spectacle of this wonderful event as well as the choice of enjoying the off-course atmosphere in all of the Open’s host communities.
Why is this important?
The R&A has introduced a "no-readmission" policy so that spectators with general admission and hospitality tickets will not be permitted to re-enter the venue after leaving the course unless they pay again. The hundreds of thousands of fans who pay to attend the Open were not asked their opinion. This petition gives Open fans everywhere the chance to be heard and hopefully persuade the R&A to reverse its decision.
Generations of fans have attended previous Opens to witness one of the world's greatest sporting events and soak up the off-course atmosphere. But the R&A's "No-readmission" policy will effectively lock them on-course all day - every day unless they pay again. This goes against the 150-year-old tradition of the Open and is not in the interests of spectators who are - only now - beginning to realise the full effects of these restrictions.
We think the R&A have made a mistake by saying this policy will guard against the "inferior" and "unofficial" off-course hospitality. This is a slur on the hundreds of excellent pubs, eateries and cafes in all the host venues on the Open Rota. It will also prevent fans from enjoying the legitimate activities of the host communities whose residents, golf clubs, restaurants and other local businesses have traditionally helped Open fans to celebrate off-course by providing festival style entertainment; essential services; and hospitality at prices they can afford. Unless this policy is reversed, fans of the Open will no longer have the freedom of going off-course to stroll around the host town, visit local shops and cafes or enjoy an affordable sit-down pub lunch or restaurant meal. In fact, the wonderful festival atmosphere - which has become synonymous with the golfing prowess of the Open - will be lost.
Tens of thousands of fans spend 10 hours or more on-course each day; and many buy a weekly ticket or a weekend bundle. They don't want to be trapped on-course each day - all day long - so the new policy will certainly not improve their enjoyment. It's also clear that only a privileged few can afford the on-course hospitality packages costing between £420 and £900 per person.
The new policy is also very unfair and will mean that some of the Open’s biggest supporters will be penalised. It will curtail attendance by the very people who have worked so hard - day after day and all year around - to make our Open venues what they are today. Shopkeepers, club stewards, residents with young children, employees of businesses and many others won’t be allowed to go on and off the course to take care of their family and work based responsibilities so will probably not be able to attend or will have to limit their attendance. So, this policy will most definitely result in lower attendances.
The 2018 Open will be staged on Carnoustie Golf links which were uniquely purchased on behalf of the people of the burgh around 1890. A great many of the residents, business owners and employees as well as the clubs who technically "own" the links will face weeks of disruption, loss of business and inconvenience but, because of the new policy, will not get a chance to see this marvellous event being staged on their own doorstep.
We feel that this wonderful world class event is being spoiled by a policy designed to monopolise spectator revenues on-course while ensuring that local businesses miss out. It certainly has little if anything to do with making the event more safe or enjoyable for the spectators.
In short, the fans who pay for the Open would like the choice but no-one asked their opinion – until now.
For these reasons we request the R&A to reverse their decision in time for the 2018 Open and allow spectators with general admission and hospitality tickets to leave the Open course and re-enter the same day without having to pay again.