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McIlroy Spurs British Open Ticket Sale Increase, Dawson Says

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July 1 (Bloomberg) -- Rory McIlroy’s record victory at the U.S. Open has boosted ticket sales for the British Open, according to Peter Dawson, chief executive officer of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews.

Sales for the July 14-17 tournament have risen 20 percent over the last time golf’s oldest major championship was played at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England, eight years ago.

McIlroy, a 22-year-old from Northern Ireland, won last month’s U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, by eight strokes for his first major title. His score of 16-under-par was the lowest in the tournament’s 111-year history, one of 12 U.S. Open records he set.

“Rory’s win at Congressional has certainly injected a lot of life into ticket sales for the championship,” Dawson said in a telephone interview. “It’s very noticeable. It’s taken us from a cumulative position of slightly ahead of the last time we were at Sandwich to being 20 percent ahead at this point.”

Because the British Open is the only one of golf’s four major tournaments to offer fans walk-up sales, exact ticket figures won’t be known until after the final day.

“That’s presales,” Dawson said. “You can still buy tickets at the gate.”

American Ben Curtis won British Open at Royal St. George’s in 2003 by one shot over Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bob Bensch in London at bbensch@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.