Peter Dawson, Secretary of the R & A, has confirmed that, despite Foot and Mouth Disesase, the Open is going ahead as planned. At a press conference in Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club today Mr Dawson said, “We are well informed of the FMD situation as it affects Lytham and are aware that there may be measures that we have to put in place in order to eliminate any risk to livestock. These will be carefully considered over the next few weeks. There is no doubt in our minds that the Open will take place.”
Lytham lies outside the’Infected Area’ which takes in Cumbria and a large part of Lancashire and in such a case the Ministry (MAFF) recommends that the public should be permitted access to areas of non-agricultural land such as golf courses.
However in Factsheet 4 MAFF points out, “Persons who have contact with Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) susceptible species are advised there is a risk that the disease may be passed on through contact at organised events. Though the risk of this indirect transmission is low there are a number of steps that can be taken to further reduce the risk.”
The R&A will therefore assess what measures to put in place at car parks and at the course to eliminate any risk of cross contamination. These will be announced nearer the time of the Open when the state of FMD at that time will be fully taken into account.
The winner of the 2001 Open Championship will receive £600,000 an increase of £100,000 on the cheque that accompanied the Claret Jug which Tiger Woods won last year at St. Andrews.
This latest increase is included in the record total of £3.3 million and underlines the R&A’s commitment to offer prize money which reflects The Open’s championship status and is also in line with the other three Majors.
“In addition to the 20% increase for the winner, we have substantially increased all prize money by amounts up to 33%” said David Hill, Championship Secretary of the R&A. “This now means that while there will be £600,000 for the winner, any player who makes the cut will receive at least £8,000”.
An indication of the rapid growth in prize money is shown by what was on offer when Tom Lehman won at Lytham in 1996. He received £200,000 out of a total of £1.4 million and in the five years since then total prize money has more than doubled and the winner’s cheque has increased three-fold.
The Open Championship www.opengolf.com
Royal & Ancient Golf Club www.RandA.org