GOLF fans have voiced their frustration at the news that ticket prices for next year’s Open Championship at St Andrews have increased.
Having been frozen for this year’s championship at Royal Liverpool from the 2013 event at Muirfield, the price of an adult daily ticket will go up by £5 to £70 - but only if you purchase before 31 May.
If you don’t purchase in advance and choose to get your ticket at the gate, a ticket will set you back £80.
If a ticket is bought before May 31, the £70 price represents a £10 increase on the daily ticket price from the last time the championship was played over the Old Course in 2010.
“Scandal! Will the R&A get their excuses in earlier now as to why attendances will be poorer as a result of this increase?” said one golf fan on Twitter.
Another added: “A shambles, high prices on a course with poor course views. No attempt to grow the game and make it more inclusive!”
Although ticket prices are being kept the same in 2015 for concessions - and accompanied children aged under-16 will continue to enjoy free entry to the championship - the news still comes as something of a surprise given the criticism directed at the R&A following the 2013 event at Muirfield.
A disappointing crowd of 142,036 - down from 160,595 the last time it visited East Lothian in 2002 and well below the 170,000 figure projected - turned out to see Phil Mickelson win that summer.
For the last few years, some golf fans have voiced their disapproval at ticket prices only for the R&A to state that a day at the Open still represents great value for money considering the day could, conceivably, allow for over ten hours of world-class golf.
The R&A have also compared their price to that of top football matches. However, a recent study by BBC Sport indicated that the price of football was overly inflated and not in line with what fans should expect to pay.
One golf fan on Twitter said he had no problem with the rise in price, saying that golf fans do get more value for money.
“If you go for a full 10hr day, have a plan, get the most out of it, its good value vs what you pay for top football match,” said Twitter user Richard Kelly.
The R&A also announced that losing Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson had been given an extension to his exemption, allowing him to make his 40th appearance - and likely his last - in the championship at the home of golf. Watson is a five-time Open champion.
Johnnie Cole-Hamilton, Executive Director - Championships at The R&A, said the organisation is looking forward to the ‘special’ atmosphere at St Andrews, usually one of the best-attended venues on the rota.
“We are very much looking forward to the return of The Open to St Andrews next year. There is always a special atmosphere at St Andrews and we will be working hard to deliver an outstanding experience for spectators once again,” he said.
“With Rory McIlroy defending the Claret Jug and Tom Watson making what is likely to be his final appearance in the Open, there will be no shortage of drama and emotion for the galleries. It promises to be a fantastic week of world-class golf.”