Golf-R&A optimistic spectators will be at British Open

(Reuters) - The British Open is still likely to be played in front of spectators next month despite the government delaying the lifting of full COVID-19 restrictions, organisers the Royal and Ancient (R&A) said on Monday.

The 149th Open, cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, will take place at the Royal St George's in Sandwich on the Kent coast from July 15-18.

The easing of restrictions was due to take place on June 21 but British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed those plans by a month on Monday, amid rising cases of the delta variant of the virus.

When the Open was last held in Sandwich in 2011, a total of 180,000 spectators attended.

"We would like to reassure fans that we will shortly be able to confirm our arrangements for The 149th Open," the R&A said in a statement.

"We are in active discussions with the UK Government and public health authorities regarding capacity levels for the Championship and hope to provide a definitive update for all ticket holders and hospitality guests in the next few days."

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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