THE Women’s British Open, set to be played at Royal Troon for the first time in its history, is to go ahead as planned but without spectators.

There were fears the tournament could be cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but The R&A, confirmed their intention to play the championship as scheduled from August 20-23, behind closed doors.

The championship will enforce strict health and safety protocols including the creation of a bio secure zone. All personnel will be required to return a negative COVID-19 test from an authorised testing centre and will be subject to further daily temperature checks and rigorous protocols designed to maintain the integrity of the zone and the health of those within it.

It will be the first women’s major championship to be played this year. The R&A has already cancelled the men’s Open which was scheduled to be held at Royal St George’s this month.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of the R&A, said: “We believe that playing the AIG Women’s British Open is a significant step for players whose playing opportunities have been severely impacted this year.

“As they compete to be the 2020 champion in historic circumstances, these athletes will continue to inspire golfers and sports fans around the world, who will be closely following events from Royal Troon on TV and social media.”

Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for economy, fair work and culture, said: “Ayrshire’s magnificent coastline will present an outstanding backdrop for the championship, providing inspiration not only for those watching and dreaming of Scotland worldwide but those here in Scotland who will be excited to see the return of major golf.”

The last time Royal Troon welcomed the world’s best golfers was in 2016 when Henrik Stenson won the Open.