Attendance continues to dip at British Open


GULLANE, Scotland – Attendance was down at the British Open for the third consecutive day, Saturday vs. 2002 figures set at Muirfield.

Numbers released by the R&A show that there were more people here during the practice days than in 2002, but Thursday, Friday and Saturday have seen significantly less galleries.

Practice days in 2002 had 30,862 people compared with 31,320 this year, Thursday had 30,620 people in ’02 compared with 23,393 this year and Friday saw 34,479 people enter the gates 11 years ago compared with 29,144 this year.

Attendance was expected to pick up Saturday, especially with Tiger Woods and England’s Lee Westwood in the mix for a claret jug, but that did not happen. More than 33,000 people were here in ’02, but only 28,932 came this year on Saturday.

R&A officials said early in the week that they were expecting 160,000 fans and hoping for 170,000.

In all, there were 16,384 more people at the Open here 11 years ago and for attendance to reach the projected 160,000 for the week, 47,211 will need to be at Muirfield for the final round.

Raising ticket prices has been blamed for some of the problem. A daily ticket is £5 (roughly $7.60) more than last year and £10 ($15.25) more than 2011.