Demand for the celebrations on the Old Course are expected to be so great, the R&A is bringing in a ticket ballot for the first time ever
It’s already one of the hottest tickets in town – but getting a spot at next year’s 150th Open Championship may need a little bit of luck.
The R&A have announced that, for the first time, a ballot will be 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 will prove the fairest way of distributing tickets.
It will run from Thursday, July 1 until Monday, 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”.
News of the ballot came 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: “This is a momentous occasion for golf as well as The Open and one which sports fans everywhere are looking forward to enormously. The 150th Open will give fans the opportunity to be part of a unique and unparalleled celebration at the birthplace of the game in St Andrews.
“We expect exceptional demand to be part of these celebrations and the ballot will give as many fans as possible the chance to secure a ticket and be part of history being made at one of the world’s most revered and renowned sporting events.”
Asked 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.
Spectators will need to be a member of The One Club to take part in the ballot and they can sign up to the free-to-join membership programme by visiting TheOpen.com
What do you think about the ballot? Will you be putting your name forward? Let me know in the comments, or tweet me.
Pictures courtesy of The R&A.