The Open: Royal Portrush attendance second-highest in history
By Keith Jackson at Royal Portrush
Last Updated: 17/07/19 12:08pm
The 148th Open will be the second-highest attended in history after the R&A confirmed ticket sales for the week at Royal Portrush.
The return of The Open to the historic Northern Ireland links for the first time in 68 years sold out in record time, and well over 230,000 fans are set to line the fairways over the week.
R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers announced that 237,750 spectators are expected to attend the Championship, making it the best-attended Open outside of St Andrews.
The figure surpasses the 235,000 who visited The 146th Open at Royal Birkdale, and falls just short of the record 239,000 crowd that witnessed Tiger Woods strolling to victory at St Andrews in 2000.
The attendance of 61,000 for the official practice days also set a new Open record, comfortably surpassing the previous high of 52,000 at Royal Liverpool in 2006.
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"This is a huge week not just for The Open but for golf as well," Slumbers said. "We are making history with a record attendance for a Championship staged outside of St Andrews and the levels of excitement among fans this week have been phenomenal.
"I said last year that big time sport needs big time crowds and we certainly have that at Royal Portrush as we stage the biggest sporting event ever to be held in Northern Ireland. The eyes of the sporting world are firmly set on Royal Portrush.
"We would like to thank all the fans for their passion and enthusiasm as we look forward to finding out who will lift the Claret Jug on Sunday. The Open would not be the success it is without the spectators."
Ticket sales for this week's Open were originally restricted to 40,000 per day but, due to the high volume of demand, the R&A arranged to have the capacity increased by 3,750.
Earlier this month, the R&A announced record-breaking sales for tickets for The 149th Open at Royal St George's next year.
Advance tickets for next year's Open sold out in less than seven hours, breaking the previous record set by Royal Portrush.