The Open: Hoylake's attendance for the 2014 championship lower than in 2006
Last Updated: 21/07/14 12:12pm
Hoylake's attendance for the 2014 Open Championship attracted 26,059 fewer spectators than when the tournament was last played on the Wirral links in 2006.
A total of 202,917 fans watched Rory McIlroy's triumph during the week, down on record figures of 228,976 when Tiger Woods won eight years earlier.
The third major championship of the year had returned to Royal Liverpool and The Open rota for the first time since 1967 in 2006.
Numbers were down on practice days and each day of competition, though the biggest single drop occurred on Friday, with 43,183 spectators at Hoylake, down 7,343 from 2006.
Despite Saturday's weather forecast of a "significant risk" of thunderstorms prompting the R&A to switch to a two-tee start for the first time in championship history, 39,398 fans made the journey to the course, just 4,714 fewer than eight years before.
It is not clear whether Sunday's figure of 42,149, down 2,008 on the previous championship's final day, included the spectator who was ejected on the 16th hole after heckling McIlroy during the final round.
"He was giving me grief all day, actually," McIlroy said. "I sort of put up with it for the first 15 holes and then he deliberately coughed on my downswing on the 16th tee. I still hit a great drive but I heard it halfway down and I knew who it was. So I turned around and got him chucked out, thankfully."
The figures are still a major improvement on last year, when 142,036 spectators were at Muirfield to see Phil Mickelson's victory. The R&A said a heatwave could have contributed to the low attendance, although ticket prices of £75 were also blamed.