The R&A have received applications for 1.1 million tickets – four times the likely total capacity for the championship – for the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews next year.
The first-ever ballot for tickets is being held for next year’s milestone championship. St Andrews is hosting the championship for the 30th time on the Old Course, from July 10-17.
Applications to join the ballot have to be in before October 4. The R&A are launching a drive for more applicants from local areas in Fife and Tayside in the final two weeks.
Total crowd approaching 240,000 expected
It’s not yet known where the R&A will peg the total numbers attending the 2022 championship as transport and infrastructure plans are still being finalised.
But at recent Opens at St Andrews total numbers for the week have been well over 230,000. The 2000 championship won by Tiger Woods set the Open’s all-time record of 239,000. A total of 237,000 attended for the week of the last Open on the Old Course, in 2015.
Since the ballot was launched in July, the R&A have received 168,000 applications for 1.1 million tickets. Around a quarter of those are from international applicants, from Europe, the USA and further afield.
The R&A’s executive director of championships, Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, said they were “absolutely delighted with the huge level of interest from fans in attending The 150th Open at St Andrews.”
“Ticket ballot applications have poured in from all over the world as well as nearer to home,” he continued. “It’s clear that golf fans everywhere want to be part of this very special milestone in golfing history.
“We introduced the ballot to give as many fans as possible the chance of attending The Open. We wanted to make it as fair as we could with such massive levels of demand.”
Fife and Tayside fans urged to join ballot
While many of the applications are from Scotland and the local area, the R&A are keen to ensure that those from Fife and Tayside don’t miss out on the chance to attend.
“We have been working hard to remind fans in the local area about the ballot through a leaflet drop, advertising and email reminders,” continued Cole-Hamilton. “I would encourage them to make sure they enter before it closes on October 4.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate the unparalleled history of The Open at the birthplace of the game in St Andrews. It will be a fantastic and hugely memorable occasion for everyone involved.”
At the launch in June the R&A said the ballot will be “balanced” to ensure “every generation of fan, from all over the world as well as the UK and local area, will be able to attend.”
First all-ticket Open was a sellout at Portrush
The Open went all-ticket for the first time at Royal Portrush in 2019. The championship sold out and generating an attendance second only to 2000.
The original scheduled 2020 championship at Royal St George’s was also all-ticket. It also sold out but was cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.
The 149th championship was eventually held at Sandwich in July. Attendance was restricted to 80 per cent of capacity because of remaining restrictions.
The oldest major championship in golf was first held at Prestwick in 1860. Due to cancellations for world wars, and the pandemic, the 150th staging is finally reached in 2022.