Portrush set for 2nd-highest Open attendance

Claret Jug (AP)
Claret Jug (AP)

Portrush - The 148th Open at Royal Portrush is set to become the second-highest attended tournament in the championship's history with 237 750 spectators expected across the week, organisers the R&A said on Wednesday.

The first Open to be held in Northern Ireland since 1951 will be the best-attended outside of St Andrews.

"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," said R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers.

"The eyes of the sporting world are firmly set on Royal Portrush."

Despite bracing conditions on Wednesday with strong winds and driving rain, the locals continued to head to the course to watch the final practice day.

A record-breaking 61 000 fans have attended practice days in total, 9 000 more than the previous best mark set at Hoylake in 2006.

The only Open to have a higher attendance for the week was the 2000 edition at St Andrews, which saw 239 000 people come through the gates to see Tiger Woods win the Claret Jug for the first time.

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