The European Tour has announced that, for the first time in its history, it has had to close tickets sales for any day of a regular Tour event as the Irish Open became the best-selling tournament on the schedule this year.
Spectators were also urged to book tickets for Thursday and Friday in advance although the deadline to do that is 5pm today (Friday). While it may be possible to purchase day tickets for those days on the gate, that definitely won’t be an option on the Saturday and Sunday which are completely sold out.
The European Tour is urging spectators to plan their journeys in advance by booking Translink rail and bus services or, if travelling by car, to follow dedicated event car park signage in order to facilitate the ease of access and exit to the event.
“We are preparing for a crowd around the 100,000 mark for the week of the Championship, and with a particularly large spectator audience expected for the weekend, we felt it prudent to stop selling tickets for Saturday and Sunday,” said Irish Open Championship Director Antonia Beggs.
“For operational reasons we also have to close the sale of advance tickets for Thursday and Friday at 5pm this Friday. Due to the close proximity to the event, it would be impossible to guarantee that tickets bought after this Friday would arrive in time for the start of the tournament.”
Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) Chief Executive Alan Clarke said that this year’s tournament will be a record-breaking success and reiterated that people cannot turn up at the weekend without a ticket.
“This year’s Irish Open is sure to be one of the biggest in the competition’s history with advance ticket sales reaching unprecedented levels and record crowds expected in Co. Antrim.” said Clarke.
“While in previous years, it may have been possible for spectators to turn up on the day and purchase tickets on the day, we would strongly urge people not to try this on Saturday and Sunday as the event is completely sold out at the weekend and there is absolutely no chance of being admitted without a ticket.
“This reflects the tremendous interest in the competition this year but really it comes as no surprise to us given the fact that it’s the first time the Irish Open has been held in Northern Ireland for 59 years, and of course the incredible success in recent years of our golfers, who are all taking part in the Championship alongside a host of other top players,” he added.
“The Irish Open is the latest in a packed programme of major events, celebrations and commemorations during 2012 which are changing the global perception of Northern Ireland as a destination and restoring a sense of pride to everyone who lives here.” he added.
Beggs added: “It is important that the spectators enjoy the experience of attending the event so we are reminding everyone to follow the official Automobile Association event signage to and from the tournament rather than rely on ‘SatNav technology’ as the signs will direct spectators to the best available car park at the time.”
Speaking about dedicated rail and bus services, Translink’s Arthur Hamilton encouraged anyone travelling to the Irish Open to book train or coach tickets now to guarantee their seats.
“In addition to normal scheduled services, extra trains will run from Belfast and Derry–Londonderry to Portrush with tickets available to book online or purchase in advance from main train stations,” said Arthur.
“Dedicated golf coach services will depart locations acrossNorthern Irelandand are available to book online only. Ulsterbus Tours is also offering both travel and Irish Open ticket packages.
“Golf rail service online ticket bookings will close at 2 pm three days prior to travel. However, additional rail tickets will also be available to purchase from selected stations on day of travel. Golf coach ticket bookings will close at 5 pm on day prior to travel and are only available to purchase online Golf coach and train return services are £15 per adult and £7.50 per child. Ulsterbus Tours packages are £40 per person,” he added.
For travel information including bus and rail ticket bookings click www.translink.co.uk/irishopen or call the Translink contact centre on 00 44 (0) 28 9066 6630.
European Tour www.europeantour.com
Royal Portrush www.royalportrushgolfclub.com