‘Damaging negativity’ could put Carnoustie’s staging of future golf championships at risk

Golfers on the approach to the 18th green at Carnoustie Championship Course

A councillor has warned “damaging negativity” over the R&A’s no readmissions policy could put Carnoustie’s staging of future golf championships at risk.

Independent David Cheape said the actions of businessman David Valentine in organising and marketing a petition had taken criticism of the policy “to an unwarranted level”.

Mr Valentine, who owns golf shop Simpsons of Carnoustie, said he hoped “people power” would send a clear message.

“While I understand the fundamental basis of his concern, I am surprised the former head of economic development of Angus Council does not see the bigger picture or the potential consequence of his actions on both the Carnoustie and the greater Angus economies,” said Mr Cheape.

He said the R&A “must be left to run the event in the best way it considers appropriate” and “while suggestions for improvement are, I’m sure, always welcome, continued criticism is not constructive”.

Mr Cheape said: “Consequently, to be on the Open ‘circuit’ is highly-prized and many other golf courses are actively promoting themselves. Compare this to continued criticism aimed at those bringing the Open to our town and it creates a much less positive impression.”

He said staging the event brought vast long-term economic return to the area and the town’s business community benefited every day that Carnoustie remained a host venue for the Open.

“The only outcome of the petition may be to damage Carnoustie’s reputation as an outstanding and welcoming venue to championships,” said Mr Cheape.

He added that people signing the petition should be aware “that to do so is counter-productive”.

Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee chairwoman Pat Sawyers said it was “disappointing a minor change in policy designed to protect spectators is being criticised for having a substantial economic detriment to the town”.

She said: “There is no evidence to support this.”

The R&A insists the no readmissions policy is required “to protect golf fans from the mis-selling of tickets and hospitality products by unofficial operators”.