As the Government continues to draw up plans for pilot events allowing spectators this summer, the Irish Open at Mount Juliet is expected to be given the green light to permit 2,500 spectators per day from July 1-4.
After the festival atmosphere that Lahinch enjoyed in 2019, it was an altogether different affair in 2020 at Galgorm Castle without the usual noise of Ireland’s golfing public lining the outside of the ropes. But as the Government slowly begins to release the shackles of Covid-19 restrictions around the country, there’s likely to be a bit of an atmosphere this year in Kilkenny, albeit far less fevered than the normal rambunctious crowd an Irish Open can bring.
“Attendance for those July events will be confirmed at some point throughout June, but I understand the Irish Open will have 2,500 people in attendance for each of the four days at Mount Juliet,” said Political Correspondent, Gavan Reilly on Twitter.
Given the wide expanse of land available at Mount Juliet Estate, coupled with the fact golf is played outdoors in the open air, 2,500 people would be a fairly conservative number to permit, especially with 3,000 spectators expected to be permitted to Croke Park for the National Camogie League finals in June. However, it is progress, and although the numbers might seem small, Shane Lowry is one man who knows just how big a difference even 2,000 spectators can make.
“I would love to see crowds in Mount Juliet, I believe there is a chance, I have heard there is a chance, I hope there is a chance,” Lowry said. “Even if it’s only – I played in Houston last year with two thousand people a day and it felt like ten thousand, at least it was something like, better than nothing.
“I’m sure the people in Mount Juliet and the people involved in the Irish Open and sponsors and the European Tour will want to get crowds back but in saying that, it’s the Government’s decision and we will just have to wait and see. We have about six or seven weeks still so hopefully things change between now and then.”
It’s not all good news for Lowry, however, because such a limited number in attendance means a limited number of tickets, and a massive headache for the reigning Open champion.
“Obviously I would like to see crowds at the Irish Open and I’m hoping there is going to be even a couple of thousand people a day, that would be nice, although that would probably give me a big headache as I would probably need 1999 of those tickets!”
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