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Royal St George's
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Tickets for The 149th Open set to go on sale
Royal St George

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

While some had written off Clarke’s chances of ever ending his major drought, he always felt he could contend for The Open - and everything fell into place at Royal St George’s. Before Clarke had even struck his first shot, he started the week in the Champion Golfer’s locker area after unknowingly being given Greg Norman’s locker when the two-time winner pulled out with injury. “I walked into the locker room to my locker and there was a little note in there from Tom Watson’s caddy and it said, ‘Your locker is in the right place’,” he explained. “It was a bit inspiring that.” Clarke opened up with a two-under 68 on day one before repeating the feat on the Friday to take joint lead alongside American Lucas Glover on four under going into the weekend. He moved into the lead on his own on Saturday with a one-under 69 and showed no signs of wilting under the pressure as he set out to prove those who had dismissed his chances wrong. “I came off the golf course on Saturday and I go and see the media and I’m sitting in there and one of the guys put his hand up, ‘Do you think you can win this?’ and I said ‘yes’. “I said ‘Of course I think I can win this, this is what I practise for, this is what I play for’. And I think some of them were actually quite taken aback that a 42-year-old guy was leading The Open thinking that he could win it because a lot of them didn’t expect me to win.”

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.”

Ian Poulter

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

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.

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