Thousands of sports fans set to descend on Royal St George’s for Open Championship

Thousands of sports fans set to descend on Royal St George’s for Open Championship

Thousands of golf enthusiasts from around the world are expected to make the pilgrimage to Royal St George’s in the south of England for the Open Championship over the next four days.

Jumeirah Hotels sponsored Rory McIlroy – who won the US Open in June with a sensational 16-under-par – is the star attraction, with sports fans wondering if he can repeat the feat on the famous course.

But the competition is expected to be tough, with Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Ernie Els, Rickie Fowler, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia all teeing off early as they attempt to steal a march on the Ulsterman.

This will be the 14th time the Open Championship will have been played at Royal St George’s, located in Sandwich, Kent.

The last occasion was in 2003 when Ben Curtis won his first major championship, finishing as the only player under par at −1, a stroke clear of Vijay Singh and Thomas Bjørn.

The course has since been lengthened by 100 yards, with its par reduced by one stroke to 70.

Notoriously tough, the Links provides a severe test for even the greatest of golfers.

Only three Open winners - Bill Rogers in 1981, Greg Norman in 1993 and Ben Curtis in 2003 - have managed to be under par after 72 holes.

World Sports Tourism Conference

Golf’s Open Championship is just one of the many highlights of the $600 billion sports tourism calendar.

This sector – the fastest growing in world travel and tourism – will be examined later this year at the World Sports Tourism Conference, taking place during the Rugby World Cup.

In partnership with TUI Travel Sports Division Plc, World Sport Tourism Congress will offer guests an opportunity to engage with the most senior executives from the sport and tourism industries during a once in a lifetime event.

Taking place on board the luxurious P&O Pacific Dawn, the fully inclusive cruise package departs from Auckland on the October 10th, returning on the October 14th prior to the Rugby World Cup Auckland Semi Finals.

Already confirmed to speak during the congress are Jeanine Pires, minister special advisor for Rio 2016 Olympic Games and former president of the Brazilian Tourism Board, and Geoffrey Lipman, advisor to the secretary general of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and advisor to the World Economic Forum (Aviation & Tourism).