Those set on the prospect of attending next summer’s Open at Royal St George’s would certainly be wise to take heed of the record-breaking ticket sales from this year’s edition at Royal Portrush.
With less than a week to go until tickets for The 149th Open are released on July 1, anyone with ambitions of being there when the Claret Jug returns to the Kent course for the first time since Darren Clarke’s historic triumph in 2011 will need to be quick off the mark.
This time last year, thousands flocked online to secure their places at this year’s Open, with golf’s oldest major crossing the Irish Sea for only the second time.
More than 20 per cent of stubs were sold in the first 48 hours of release, with a total of around 215,000 spectators set to descend on the stunning Antrim coast course in July.
And if you were unlucky enough to miss out, priority tickets for The Open at Royal St George’s go on sale to members of The One Club on Monday 1 July.
If you’re not a member of The One Club you can join for FREE at TheOpen.com/The-One-Club
A ROYAL RETURN TO ST GEORGE’S
England’s most prolific host of The Open, Royal St George’s will welcome the world’s best for the 15th time in 2020 as the battle for Champion Golfer returns to the venue again.
A course thoroughly intertwined with the mythos of golf’s most prestigious major, St George’s has seen some of golf’s all-time greats lift the Claret Jug on its premises.
JH Taylor, Harry Vardon, Walter Hagan, Bobby Locke, Sandy Lyle and Clarke himself are just some of those who emerged victorious after four rounds on the picturesque links.
In 1993 it was the turn of another Open great to add his name to those who have slain St George’s, as Greg Norman lifted his second Claret Jug with a vintage performance.
And little did the Great White Shark know, but it was a moment that inspired a young golfer watching on from the crowds, the inception of a lifetime obsession for Ian Poulter.
“My first memory of an Open at Royal St George’s,” said Poulter. “I don’t think I could even drive so my brother took us there and I can remember walking round watching John Daly, Nick Faldo, Seve, Payne Stewart.
“I can remember Payne had a slit in the bottom of his trousers, this was when he wasn’t wearing his plus fours, so it was then I really rated to the personalities in the game of golf and I was really hooked from that point on.”
WAIT FOR AN ENGLISH WINNER
And Poulter, whose best finish at The Open was second at Royal Birkdale in 2008, would love nothing more than to add his name to the Claret Jug on home soil.
But Poulter is aware that it will take a peerless performance if he is to make history and become the first Englishman in more than half a century to win The Open in his own backyard.
“Royal St George’s is an extremely difficult test,” he continued. “The fairways have got lots of humps and bumps in them, you can hit a good tee shot down the middle that will suddenly find itself running off into the rough.
“You can hit a poor shot and still find the fairway on certain holes as well! It is a stern test, it’s true links golf. The wind and the weather will be a factor and I look forward to getting there.
“50 years ago was the last Englishman to win The Open on English soil. That was Tony Jacklin so hopefully there will be an Englishman, me I hope, who will get the opportunity to do it once again.”
Tommy Fleetwood is another Englishman with his eyes on the coveted prize, looking to improve on his previous best performance of T12 at Carnoustie in 2018.
“The history of The Open, the crowds, the conditions at times and the fact that our home Open is the biggest event in golf makes it all so special,” he said. “It’s in your dreams - if I could win one tournament and pack everything up, it would be The Open.”
And with Royal St George’s known for throwing up surprises – most notably Ben Curtis’ memorable 2003 triumph – the demand to be at Sandwich to witness more history is expected to be huge.