British Open officials aren’t planning increased security for Tiger Woods at this year’s golf tournament at St. Andrews in Scotland.
The top-ranked American, who took a break after admitting marital infidelities, will have been playing for three months when the Open starts July 15, the officials said. That will mean less scrutiny.
Woods returned to golf at the Masters tournament earlier this month. Organizers at Augusta National Golf Club provided photos to help security identify women claiming to have had relations with the player. Woods, a three-time winner of the British Open, took the title in 2000 and 2005, the last two times St. Andrews hosted. He’s yet to apply to compete in this year’s tournament.
“We always act on police advice,” Peter Dawson, chief executive officer of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, said today at a press conference at St. Andrews. “Once the situation is reviewed, I would very much doubt there would be mug shots in people’s hands.”
The Open celebrates its 150th anniversary this year at the Scottish course. Officials at St. Andrews said they won’t face the same security uncertainty as Augusta.
“The Masters had the problem of not knowing what to expect,” Dawson said. “If the Open Championship would have been Tiger’s first event back, we’d be scratching our heads. We’re very pleased not to be the guinea pigs.”
Dawson said it’s not unusual for Woods not to have applied at this point. The deadline is May 27.
“We hope Tiger will come play and enjoy the experience,” Mike Brown, chairman of the championship committee, said.
Dawson also said the Open isn’t planning to increase the winner’s purse to 1 million pounds ($1.5 million) as the Wimbledon tennis championships have.
Wimbledon announced last week it was increasing the prize money for the men’s and women’s singles champions to the record amount. Stewart Cink took home 750,000 pounds for winning last year’s Open at Turnberry in Scotland.
“The Wimbledon figures are very generous,” Dawson said. “But I guess they have to play for two weeks to get to that, and it’s four days here. In the absence of a major exchange-rate swing, I think we’re a few years away.”
This year’s winner’s prize had not been determined, Dawson said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch at St. Andrews through the London sports desk firstname.lastname@example.org