The Open 2022: Historic St Andrews staging to be largest in event's history as record number of fans to attend

The 150th Open at St Andrews in July will be the largest in the event’s history with a record-breaking 290,000 fans set to attend the milestone occasion.

A pin flag is pictured on the 18th green of the Old Course. Picture: Liam Allan/R&A/R&A via Getty Images.

Unprecedented demand to attend this year’s tournament led to more than 1.3 million applications in a first-ever ticket ballot and has resulted in the highest-ever number of general admission tickets being issued to fans.

The whopping 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.

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It was also announced today that the event, which received a huge boost when Woods recently confirmed he will be playing in on the Old Course, is expected to generate around £200 million in total economic benefit to Scotland.

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.”

As part of The R&A continuing its drive to ensure the championship is accessible to young people, 20 per cent of the general admission tickets have gone to people aged under 25 while 20,000 kids will gain free entry to the event.

A total of 17,500 grandstand seats will be provided around the course, around 8,000 of which will be in the area of the first, 17th and 18th holes. Elsewhere, 3,500 seats will be in ‘The Loop’.

“There’s various things happening,” said Mike Woodcock, The R&A’s director of corporate communications, of the steps being taken to provide a good spectator experience at a venue where viewing can be difficult.

“One is having 17,500 granstand seats around the course to help with viewing. We’ve also been working on some mounding on various parts of the course in spectator areas. There’s been some gorse management.

“Practice days attendance will be significantly higher (80,000 spectators will attend on those days compared to 61,000 fans at Royal Portrush in 2019).

“Championship days will be something like 52,500, which again is a significant increase on previous years. We’ve done a huge amount of work on this. There is huge demand. It’s a big step forward.”

Woods, who has won the event twice on the Old Course, made a successful return to the game following his serious car crash in last month’s Masters at Augusta National.

The 15-time major winner has still to decide if he’ll play in next month’s US PGA Championship in Tulsa, but he’s definitely planning to be back at St Andrews.

“I think everyone has just been bowled over by Tiger’s comeback this year, playing at The Masters,” added Woodcock. “To have Tiger involved in the 150th as a previous St Andrews champion is just magnificent for all concerned.“

The event’s economic impact to Scotland, which has been predicted to be £200m on this occasion according to an independent forecast by the Sport Industry Research Centre (SIRC) at Sheffield Hallam University, was welcomed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“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,” she said.

“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 Open Camping Village continues to prove a popular accommodation option, particularly for families and young people, with around 3,650 visitors booking a place to stay on-site this year.

Almost 40 per cent of those staying at the campsite are under 25-years-old meaning that around 8,000 free bed spaces have been provided to them since the initiative was launched at Royal Troon in 2016.

A Celebration of Champions taking place on the Monday will see 12 groups and approximately 48 players compete over the first, second , 17th and 18th holes, with the players in the winning team each getting £10,000 to donate to a charity of their choice.

The course will play at 7,313 yards on this occasion - 16 yards longer than when Zach Johnson claimed the Claret Jug in 2015 after a three-man play-off. Thirteen yards have been added at the short eighth while the 12th will be three yards longer.

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