Tickets are now on sale for
the 108th Open Championship, the Golf
Association of Philadelphia’s premier event of the year, set for Monday,
July 23, at Pine Valley GC.
Note, on sale.
For the first time in its 115-year
history, GAP is charging
admission to one of it’s events.
The precedent, GAP executive
director Mark Peterson said Thursday,
is because this year’s Open is returning
to Pine Valley for the first time in 10 years, prompting far more interest from
entrants and fans.
"Pine Valley is unique in
all the world," said Peterson. "We’re just trying to gauge who is
Tickets are $10 each and can be reserved
only on GAP’s website. There will also be a $20 per carload fee for parking/shuttle
bus. In fact, attending the Open as a spectator will be similar to
attending Pine Valley’s annual Crump Cup, except that parking will be
in a different location. Directions to spectator parking.
Charging for tickets is not
about generating revenue or covering costs, said Peterson – 100 percent of ticket revenue will go to the J.
Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Fund.
Fact is, neither GAP or Pine Valley is "built for unlimited crowds," said Peterson. The GAP
championship staff and Pine Valley
officials have set the max attendance for the Open at about 2,500.
As of Thursday morning,
about 500 tickets had been purchased.
Peterson expects that number
of increase substantially in the coming days.
The last time the Open, with a field of 72 pros and elite
amateurs, was hosted by Pine Valley, 10 years ago in 2002, GAP also required spectators reserve
tickets; the difference is, back then tickets were free.
When some people who had
reserved as many as 10-12 tickets didn’t show, the crowd was an estimated 800 to 1,000,
or about half of what they expected.
Most GAP tournaments, even Opens
at other venues, generally attract only a sprinkling of fans beyond family and
friends. While this year’s ticket
charge is a first, Peterson can’t
imagine it would become a regular think.
"Maybe if Pine Valley invites back in 10 years,"
said Peterson, joking.