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SANDWICH, England – Along with the 32,000 fans that are expected each day at The Open Championship are 32,000 potential problems for security officials. It’s a reality that became far too real at last week’s Scottish Open.
As Rory McIlroy was preparing to tee off for his second round at The Renaissance Club in North Berwick, a fan wandered onto the tee and grabbed a club from the Northern Irishman’s bag. The 35-year-old man was arrested and taken to a local hospital.
That scene, and the fear of what could have happened, has been a powerful reminder for officials this week at Royal St. George’s.
“We are deeply conscious all the time of the health and safety, particularly the safety of the players, no more so this year than in previous years,” said Martin Slumbers, the R&A’s chief executive.
Slumbers explained that security protocols remain unchanged and that he’s confident there won’t be a similar incident at The Open.
“As a spectator, you can't get on the tee," Slumbers said. "We have enough marshals around our tees to prevent that, including a number of army marshals."