Northern Ireland news

No escaping wealth of accents among spectators at Portrush

The practice greens for The Open at Royal Portrush on Tuesday. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

IT'S not just golfers from around the world who have descended on the seaside town of Portrush, but golfing fans from across the globe.

While around three quarters of tickets have been snapped up by the home fans, there was also no escaping the broad wealth of accents and languages of spectators attending Royal Portrush.

An estimated 215,000 will flock through the gates of The Open this week, with the daily capacity increased from 40,000 to 43,750 due to the enormous demand.

And as Royal Portrush hosts the prestigious tournament for the first time since 1951, the historic importance was not lost on many people who had travelled thousands of miles to attend.

For Chris and Anne Broten from Canada, it’s been a trip two years in the planning.

Hailing from Saskatoon, a small town in Western Canada, they arranged their trip around a visit to their daughter in England and with a link to Co Down where one of the north’s most familiar golfing heroes hails from, there was no stopping them from making the journey.

"Our daughter lives in London after marrying a man from Belfast, well Hollywood to be exact," said Mr Broten.

"I booked the accommodation two years ago..

"We knew we needed to get in quick."

Rory McIlroy teeing off during practice at The Open at Royal Portrush on Tuesday. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin 

And after a few days at Wimbledon last week, it was off to their home for this week, Portballintrae.

"We spent a few days at Wimbledon and here we are now at the Open," said Mrs Broten.

"This is the first Open, we have been to other Majors.

"This is fantastic here, really lovely.

"The facilities are great and we have really enjoyed it so far."

Tiger Woods makes his way to practice for The Open at Royal Portrush on Tuesday. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin 

With a vast array of activities and services available in the spectator villages and the Open Zone clearly a real hit with people of all ages, a family from Florida were enjoying what was on offer.

Mum Judy Davis said they were holidaying in the Republic and decided to add in a few days at The Open into their itinerary.

"We have been to Cork, then on up to Dublin and now we're here in Portrush," she said.

"We're only here for the practice days but it's given the kids a glimpse of some of the world's best golfers, so it's been a worthwhile trip already."

Rory McIlroy at Royal Portrush yesterday. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

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