What’s been different about the galleries at this year’s Open?

While we’re used to galleries of 100,000 a day, 32,000 fans a day have been glad to get in at all, even though its been stop start with the covid and security checks. But there’s definitely been a difference this year.

Very few international broadcast staff and press are here. I saw some from Ashai TV from Japan and Golf Channel in America have about 20 staff. We’re used to fans coming from all over the world, and American supporters in particular. Apart from the players and their 4 person support teams I’ve barely heard an American voice.

Which sort of exposes just how posh Royal St Georges is. The members and their “lady wives” have been visible but generally there have been more posh people here in one place than you would see see in an episode of Made In Chelsea. The voice, which commands authority, has been heard a lot this week. But it is a posh venue, The club was in established in 1887 as an extension of a London’s gentlemans club and it’s only been six years since women members have been allowed. There is a long waiting list for membership, although if you buy a house on the Lord North’s estate, you are awarded restricted playing rights at the club.

Indeed I remember coming down to RSG to watch the final of the Amateur Championship, the year Trevor Immelman was in the final. And I remember sneaking into the clubhouse to use the facilities, because I needed to, and shifting out quickly before a man told me off. I just accepted that that was the way it was.

I notice that the R&A are planning to review all the applications for the 150th Open at St Andrews so that people from every demographic and geographic are represented. Good idea. But this year’s Open has been uniquely English. Within the roars of the excited, passionate, smaller galleries there has been the occasional “Yaaaaaah, go Raaaaaahm”

Though not all the English people present are posh, or abide by dress rules…

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