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R&A happy with Turnberry crowds- 22 Jul 2009 00:00:00

The Royal and Ancient Club, organisers of golf’s Open Championship, have said that they are happy with the size of crowds at Turnberry at this year’s tournament - despite making £3m less than at last year's event at Royal Birkdale.

The 123,000 fans at the Ayrshire course for the week was still 8,500 more than when it last staged the event in 1994.

Dave Hill, of the Royal and Ancient, said: ‘It's a fantastic course... except the fact that it's remote in comparison with all the other venues. Does it worry the R&A financially? I don't think so if you take a 10-year view’

He added that income was expected to be about £3m less than at Birkdale in Southport last year.

‘We do very well at all the other championship venues financially and when you take account of our media income and our total income it really isn't a huge drop at all.

‘We budgeted for about 115,000. Any thoughts of Turnberry not being part of the future Open circuit are just really not in the thoughts of anyone at the R&A at all.’

Asked about the clash with the second Ashes Test at Lord's, Hill said: ‘I think we were obviously disappointed for sports fans throughout the UK.

‘I sit in a group which looks at all these fixtures and I think the problem cricket has is it has so many Test matches and one-day internationals. So their fixture calendar in recent years has become very, very crowded.

‘But in an ideal world, going back until about four or five years ago you had Wimbledon, the British Grand Prix and then the Open Championship, and the cricket team dipped in and out of that.’

US player Stewart Cink won the Open after pipping veteran Tom Watson to the Claret Jug after a four-hole play-off on Sunday evening.

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