Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Rory McIlroy's Open victory attracts fewer fans than Tiger Woods' 2006 glory

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

The 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool attracted 26,059 fewer spectators than when the tournament was played on the Wirral links in 2006.

A total of 202,917 fans watched Rory McIlroy's triumph during the week, down on record figures of 228,976 when Tiger Woods won eight years earlier.

Numbers were down on practice days and each day of competition, although perhaps surprisingly the biggest single drop occurred on Friday, with 43,183 spectators at Hoylake, down 7,343 from 2006.

Despite Saturday's weather forecast of a "significant risk" of thunderstorms prompting the R&A to switch to a two-tee start for the first time in championship history, 39,398 fans made the journey to the course, just 4,714 fewer than in 2006.

It is not clear whether Sunday's figure of 42,149, down 2,008 on eight years ago, included the spectator who was ejected on the 16th hole after heckling Ulsterman McIlroy during the final round of play.

"He was giving me grief all day, actually," McIlroy said. "I sort of put up with it for the first 15 holes and then he deliberately coughed on my downswing on the 16th tee.

"I still hit a great drive but I heard it halfway down and I knew who it was. So I turned around and got him chucked out, thankfully."

The figures are still a major improvement on last year, when 'just' 142,036 spectators were at Muirfield to see Phil Mickelson's victory. The R&A said a heatwave could have contributed to the low attendance, although ticket prices of £75 were also blamed.

                                       2006                        2014

Practice Days:                 51,681                    42,805

Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy celebrates winning the 2014 Open Championship with his mum at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy celebrates winning the 2014 Open Championship with his mum at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy kisses the Claret Jug after winning the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake.
Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy kisses the Claret Jug after winning the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake.
Rory McIlroy wins the British Open at Hoylake, Liverpool and the members at Holywood Golf Club celebrate.
Rory McIlroy wins the British Open at Hoylake, Liverpool and the members at Holywood Golf Club celebrate.

Thursday:                       38,500                     35,382

Friday:                             50,526                     43,183

Saturday:                         44,112                    39,398

Sunday:                            44,157                    42,149

Total:                                228,976                   202,917

Further Reading

Rejoice in Rory McIlroy ... everyone knows where he's from

The modest, shy (and very proud) mum who gave Rory his drive 

McIlroy is unable to emulate Tiger's heroics: G-Mac

Major record is there for taking if Rory drives on 

Biting Back: The righteous indignation was overkill 

In feelgood Holywood, everyone's smiling... and youngsters are hitting the golf course  

McIlroy is carving his name onto the pages of history 

A hero returns home, and they all want to see him  

Hoylake links attracts fewer fans than Woods glory 

The Open: Rory McIlroy shows elite sport and relationships just don't mix 

The Open: Rory McIlroy stars in another Holywood blockbuster 

The Open: Fred Daly set standard for Rory to follow, and now he can master Augusta 

Rory McIlroy: From boy to £25m superstar

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