2024 Open set for huge attendance increase at Royal Troon - but will Greg Norman buy a ticket?

Ayrshire venue set to host biggest Open crowd outwith St Andrews

The attendance for this year’s 152nd Open at Royal Troon will be 250,000, which represents a huge 77,000 increase from the 2016 event at the Ayrshire venue.

It means the crowd for the July 18-21 event – its tenth staging at Royal Troon – will be the biggest for the world’s oldest major outside St Andrews, where 290,000 fans attended the 2022 edition.

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“It is a big increase and I think there’s been a huge amount done to try and make sure that the number we bring in is what the golf course can accommodate,” said Mike Woodcock, The R&A’s director of communications at a media briefing at Royal Troon on Tuesday morning.

Henrik Stenson won the Claret Jug the last time Royal Troon staged The Open in 2016.Henrik Stenson won the Claret Jug the last time Royal Troon staged The Open in 2016.
Henrik Stenson won the Claret Jug the last time Royal Troon staged The Open in 2016.

“There is a lot of space out there and we’ve done a lot of work on the throughflow, pathways, spectator areas etc. There’s been a lot of work done in the on-course areas to ensure that the fans can get around and enjoy good viewing areas. I think the viewing decks, grandstand seatings and so on that we’ve put in can accommodate it.

“I think you’ve seen at recent venues that the championship attendance has been increasing and, by and large, it has worked very well and I think it should be a great week here and a great atmosphere.”

The event is already a sell-out, though a resale platform is in operation, and fans will certainly be in for a treat if there’s a repeat of the title duel between Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson eight years ago that saw the Swede become the first Scandinavian to win a men’s major.

Nine new tees have been created for this year’s event, which will see the course play at a total of 7385 yards, which is 195 yards longer than 2016.

The par-5 sixth – at 623 yards – will be the longest hole in Open history then be followed two holes later by the shortest, with an option for the iconic Postage Stamp to play at 99 yards from a forward tee to a front pin.

Fans will be able to watch the world’s best players tackle that eighth hole in an L-shaped grandstand that will house just over 1500 seats while 3500 will be seated in the 18th hole arena.

At The Masters earlier this month, LIV Golf CEO and commissioner Greg Norman joined the patrons at Augusta National after buying his own ticket for the season’s first major. Norman, of course, was involved in a play-off at Royal Troon in 1989 and it will be interesting to see if he plans to do likewise in July.

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“I don’t think there’s a G Norman and I think someone would have let me know if there was,” said Woodcock in reply to being asked if Norman had already bought a ticket. “Obviously there’s still tickets available on the resale platform and hospitality packages as well.”

Of the 250,000 tickets, 22,500 have been allocated to under 25s while 13,000 are being provided free to under 16s, taking the number to benefit from that initiative since it started in 1997 to 415,000. The bulk of the fans will be in attendance on the opening two days, when between 47,500-48,500 tickets have been made available while the figure reduces to 47,000 then 46,500 for the third and fourth rounds respectively.

“Saturdays and Sundays are a very different dynamic with the crowd with regard to having a conclusion, a final putt,” said Rhodri Price, The R&A’s director of championships. “It’s a mass exodus whereas there is a gradual leaving on Thursday and Friday. Therefore we are slightly more mindful of the capacities on the weekend.”

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