Irish Open fever is gripping the country with Friday’s play at Royal Portrush already a complete sell-out.
Fans eager to see Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington in action had already snapped up all the tickets for Saturday and Sunday.
But European Tour chiefs, who were expecting up to 100,000 fans to flock to the course from today through to Sunday, now admit that demand has exceeded all expectations.
Championship Director Antonia Beggs said: “When we announced in January that the Irish Open was coming to Royal Portrush we were told to expect a hugely positive reaction from golfing public but this has exceeded all our expectations and is fantastic news for the tournament.
“We are well on course for in excess of 100,000 spectators here over the week.”
The Tour announced last week that Saturday and Sunday had officially sold out for the first time in its 40 year history and immediately halted tickets sales.
Now, just two days before the start, Friday will also have a 27,000 capacity crowd for first staging of the Irish Open in Northern Ireland since 1953.
Fans can still pay at the gate to watch today’s first official practice day, tomorrow’s Pro-Am and Thursday’s first round
A host of sports stars and celebrities are set to tee it up in tomorrow’s Pro-Am, including “Caddyshack” star Bill Murray, singer Ronan Keating and Northern Irish football legends Martin O’Neill and Pat Jennings.