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Open Championship to attract record crowd in 150th year at St Andrews

Huge crowds watch eventual champion Zach Johnson in the 2015 Open at the Old Course.
Huge crowds watch eventual champion Zach Johnson in the 2015 Open at the Old Course.

This summer’s 150th Open Championship at St Andrews will be played in front of a record-breaking 290,000 fans.

Unprecedented demand to attend this historic milestone for The Open, which will be held between July 10-17, led to more than 1.3 million applications in the ticket ballot.

That has resulted in the highest-ever number of general admission tickets being issued to fans.

The attendance surpasses the previous high mark set at St Andrews in 2000 when 239,000 spectators watched Tiger Woods lift the Claret Jug for the first time.

After returning from injury to play in the Masters earlier this month, 15-time major winner Woods confirmed he will play in this summer’s Open.

Tiger Woods will play in this summer’s Open Championship.

It was also announced today that The 150th Open is expected to generate around £200 million in total economic benefit to Scotland, according to an independent forecast by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University.

Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive at The R&A, said: “The 150th Open at St Andrews is going to be a momentous occasion for golf and this is clearly reflected in the extraordinary demand among fans to be part of this historic playing of the Championship. We very much appreciate their passion and enthusiasm for The Open and are delighted that we will set a new attendance record that far exceeds the previous best set in 2000.

“The Open is a major global sporting event and its significance to St Andrews and Scotland is evident in the independent forecast which estimates that the Championship will generate around £200 million in total economic benefit.

“We look forward to welcoming tens of thousands of fans from many countries around the world to St Andrews in July when they will enjoy a true celebration of golf at its historic home.”

First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Open Championship is a brilliant opportunity to showcase Scotland as the home of golf on a global stage, in a historic year for the sport – with five major tournaments being hosted across five weeks this summer.

The Old Course at St Andrews is the site of the 150th Open.

“The news that this will be the largest Championship ever staged is a phenomenal feat and reminds us of the enduring appeal of golf. The event, which will welcome visitors from across the world to Scotland, will also have an extremely positive impact on our economy, businesses and tourism industry.

“I am delighted The 150th Open is coming to St Andrews and I have no doubt that the Championship will be a truly historic event.”

The independent forecast by SIRC, which was commissioned by The R&A, VisitScotland and Fife Council, reveals that the total economic impact resulting from staging The 150th Open at St Andrews with 290,000 fans in attendance will reach £100 million for the first time.

An additional destination marketing benefit of £100 million to St Andrews and Scotland, which is produced by global media exposure of the Championship and independently measured by YouGov Sport, makes up the forecast total economic benefit of £200 million.

The R&A is continuing its drive to ensure the Championship is accessible to young people and a record 20% of general admission tickets have been allocated to fans under the age of 25, including over 20,000 children aged under 16 who will be attending free of charge thanks to the long-running Kids Go Free initiative.

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