The 150th Open at the Old Course, St Andrews will be strictly all-ticket for the first time.
A ballot will launch next month for the championship, to be held from July 10-17 next year.
The new ballot is “to ensure the most equitable ticket sales process possible”, says the R&A, and effectively ends their traditional policy of allowing fans to pay at the gate for championship at the home of golf.
The oldest major championship in golf was first held in 1860. Due to cancellations for world wars and last year’s pandemic, the 150th staging of The Open is finally reached next year.
The R&A broke up their usual five-year cycle of hosting Opens at St Andrews to ensure this historic championship would be on the Old Course.
The R&A have operated as all-ticket both at Royal Portrush in 2019 and the delayed 149th championship at Royal St George’s, Sandwich this July, but this will be the first time it has occurred in Scotland and at the Home of Golf, traditionally the most popular venue in terms of spectator numbers.
‘The fairest and most equitable way for fans’
The R&A believe that given extremely high levels of demand to the 150th championship, the introduction of a ballot for tickets is deemed the fairest and most equitable way of ensuring golf fans from around the world have the chance to secure their place at the Old Course next July.
The ticket ballot for The 150th Open at St Andrews will open on 1 July.
— The Open (@TheOpen) June 1, 2021
The ticket ballot will run from Thursday, 1 July 2021 to Monday, 4 October 2021 giving as many fans as possible the opportunity to register for tickets. 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 the celebrations in St Andrews next July.
Hospitality for the event has been on sale since last year, with 85% of packages already sold.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, 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. 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.”
New branding for 150th Open launched
The 150th Open at St Andrews. Everything has led to this. pic.twitter.com/Y6XzGR54Gc
— The Open (@TheOpen) June 1, 2021
A new 150th commemorative brand was also launched on Tuesday. This will be displayed across a campaign of content that will run throughout the next 14 months.
The focus of the campaign will be the journey of The Open and its enduring impact on players, fans and the sport of golf since it was first staged.
The 150th logo is made up of individual threads that each represent the millions of journeys connected to the Championship.
“The journey of our sport is intimately linked to the pioneers who started The Open to identify the Champion Golfer of the Year more than a century-and-a-half ago,” said the R&A.
“The threads will be prominently used in imagery throughout the build-up to The 150th Open. The campaign’s central message is that ‘everything has led to this’ as we count down to what promises to be a truly unforgettable occasion.
Day tickets will be £95
Ticket prices for The 150th Open at St Andrews will be £95 for an adult on Championship days and range from £20 to £50 on practice days.
Children and young people attending The Open will continue to receive concessions. Free tickets for children are available through the successful and long-running “Kids go Free” programme.
Half-price youth tickets are available for 16-24 year-olds.
The ticket ballot will be available exclusively to members of The One Club, the free-to-join membership programme.
Fans can sign up to The One Club any time at www.TheOpen.com and will be among the first to be notified when the ballot is open.
Comment: an inevitable move for the R&A
The end of the long tradition of paying at the gate for an Open at the Old Course will be mourned by many. But its demise was probably inevitable in the 21st Century.
The huge success of the all-ticket Open at Portrush in 2019 – a move made necessary to keep spectators numbers manageable on a restricted access site – convinced the R&A to operate an all-ticket system at Sandwich for 2020.
They’d sold out that championship well in advance, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic that forced it to be cancelled.
All-ticket gives the R&A much greater scope in controlling pricing and numbers at the Open, and this is particularly relevant at St Andrews where numbers might benefit from being restricted because of access issues and difficult sightlines on the Old Course.
A record 239,000 spectators attended the 2000 Open at the Old Course. Some 237,000 were at the last, weather-disrupted championship there in 2015.