LONDON, April 23 (Reuters) - Spectators will be able to use mobile phones at this year's British Open golf at Royal Lytham & St Annes after organisers announced they were relaxing a ban they put in place in 2006.
Tournament organisers are particularly sensitive to phones ringing while players play their shots, leading the governing Royal & Ancient to introduce a complete ban at The Open.
However, because of the growth of smart phones and the golfing apps that go with them, it has relented.
Fans will be able to carry their phones with them on the course, although calls will have to be made in designated areas.
"There is no denying the attachment people feel to their mobile phones both in terms of gathering information and staying in touch with family and friends," R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said in a statement on Monday.
"We understand this and allowing their use at the Championship will enrich The Open experience."
Dawson said fans would be able to use a range of Open apps, allowing them to keep tabs on scoreboards, tee times, news and video highlights.
"We understand there will be concerns over this change in policy but will be liaising with spectators at the Championship to ensure calls are not taking place near play," he said.
"Our spectators are very knowledgeable and understand golf and so we are confident they will respect the players."
The Open begins on July 19. (Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Mark Meadows)