Demand for the celebrations on the Old Course are expected to be so great, the R&A has opened a ticket ballot for the first time ever
Open tickets are already the hottest in town – but getting a spot at next year’s 150th Open Championship may need a little bit of luck.
For the first time, a ballot has been introduced to ensure the “most equitable” way of being able to attend the seminal championship at St Andrews in July 2022.
Open tickets have been in big demand in recent years, with more than 237,000 attending the world’s oldest major at Royal Portrush in 2019.
There were record ticket sales for Royal St George’s prior to the championship being postponed as the coronavirus pandemic hit and near on 240,000 filled St Andrews the last time the Open was there in 2015.
With demand expected to be extremely high as the event celebrates its sesquicentennial, the R&A believes a ballot is the fairest way of distributing tickets.
The ballot is now open and will run until October 4, and a “balance of allocations will ensure every generation of fan, from all over the world, as well as throughout the UK and the local area, will be able to attend”.
The results of the ballot will be known by the end of November. It is available only to members of The One Club, which is a free-to-join membership programme. Those who have already registered an interest in the ballot can now apply for tickets.
News of the ballot came in June as the R&A started the countdown to the Old Course by launching a special commemorative brand, which will focus on the journey of the Open and its impact since first being staged in 1860.
Martin Slumbers, R&A chief executive, said: “We are looking forward to a very special occasion in golf next year with The 150th Open being played at the birthplace of the game in St Andrews. We will be celebrating one of the most prestigious and renowned events in the sporting calendar and will be welcoming some of its greatest champions past and present.
“The ticket ballot gives as many fans as possible the chance to be part of this fantastic Championship and make it an occasion to remember.”
Asked last month about the surging popularity of the Open, which has brought the need for a ballot, in a Zoom call about the 150th Open, five-time champion Tom Watson said he felt the R&A were trying to offer spectators the best experience.
“I think, in the back of their minds, the R&A understand that it’s a difficult course to follow your golfers around and I don’t know whether they want to limit the number of fans that come there but I know they have more fans that want to come there than the course can hold.
“In the background, I think the R&A are thinking, ‘Well, we better do that to give the fans a good experience.'”
Tickets for the 150th Open will cost £95 for adults on championship days and range from £20 to £50 on practice days. Free tickets will continue to be available for children, while those aged 16 to 24 will be able to buy at half price.
The R&A say that, to give as many people as possible the chance to attend, weekly tickets are being discontinued.
Pictures courtesy of the R&A