A RECORD number of golf fans are expected to attend The Open at St Andrews in July. 

It's anticipated around 290,000 spectators will show up at the home of golf, smashing the previous Open record set in 2000 when 239,000 fans descended on the Fife town to see Tiger Woods lift the Claret Jug for the first time. 

More than 1.3 million people applied for tickets to watch the contest which will celebrate its 150th anniversary. 

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A) will work closely with the Scottish Government to ensure that fans attending can do so safely.

The tournament, which takes place from July 14 to 17, is expected to generate about £200 million for the Scottish economy, according to an independent forecast by the Sport Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The Open Championship is a brilliant opportunity to showcase Scotland as the home of golf on a global stage, in a historic year for the sport – with five major tournaments being hosted across five weeks this summer.

“The news this will be the largest Championship ever staged is a phenomenal feat and reminds us of the enduring appeal of golf.

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“The event, which will welcome visitors from across the world to Scotland, will also have an extremely positive impact on our economy, businesses, and tourism industry.

“I am delighted the 150th Open is coming to St Andrews and I have no doubt that the Championship will be a truly historic event.”

Martin Slumbers, chief executive at the R&A, added: “The 150th Open at St Andrews is going to be a momentous occasion for golf and this is clearly reflected in the extraordinary demand among fans to be part of this historic playing of the Championship.

The National: Main man: R&A chief Martin Slumbers hosted his annual round table discussion in St Andrews (Picture: PA)

Martin Slumbers, chief executive at the R&A 

“We very much appreciate their passion and enthusiasm for The Open and are delighted that we will set a new attendance record that far exceeds the previous best set in 2000.

“The Open is a major global sporting event and its significance to St Andrews and Scotland is evident in the independent forecast which estimates that the Championship will generate around £200 million in total economic benefit.

“We look forward to welcoming tens of thousands of fans from many countries around the world to St Andrews in July when they will enjoy a true celebration of golf at its historic home.”

The R&A has allocated about 20% of tickets to fans under the age of 25 and more than 20,000 under-16s will be able to attend free of charge things to the Kids Go Free initiative.