Why The Open is a chance to celebrate a festival of sport – and Merseyside itself
3 months ago
“I don’t think anybody can quite understand the scale of it unless they come,” says Mark Gorton, press officer for the Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake where the event is being held this year.
There are literally just days to go until the 151st British Open Golf Championships tee off on Merseyside, and it’s a chance to celebrate one of the biggest festivals of sport.
Mark Gorton says:
“The Open has got bigger and bigger every single year.
“It’s an enormous sporting event and one of the things about Merseyside is it loves great sporting events. When The Open came here in 2006 after a long time, nearly 40 years away from Hoylake, it was just remarkable in as much as people came and not only enjoyed the golf, but people came who weren’t necessarily golf fans, but came here to celebrate a festival of sport.”
And he adds: “That’s the way it should be!”
Mark reckons it’s not just the chance to recognise the sport but to highlight the area too: “To celebrate the community, the place, the peninsula, the borough, the county of Merseyside, and Liverpool City Region,” he goes on.
“This tournament is an enormous showcase, and it can only be good if people further afield go ‘you know what, I’d quite like to come to Merseyside’ or ‘I’d quite like to come to the Wirral’.
“And one of the things people forget sometimes – I think the river is a bit of a psychological and physical barrier – but here you’re 25 minutes into town. You can have a great time in Liverpool. A lot of people will stay in Liverpool and come out here to watch the golf.”
Despite concerns about congestion in the area caused by 250,000 spectators arriving to watch The Open, measures have been put in place to ensure everything goes smoothly.
Mark says: “In 2006 everybody was slightly nervous the infrastructure might not work, but Merseyrail was brilliant, people were pouring off Hoylake (station) to come here.
“The park and ride all work brilliantly well. The R&A are so experienced at organising this type of thing.
“I think all you need to do is to make sure you’re on the R&A website and you’re looking at all the travel information and plan, plan, plan – and make the most of it. Have a ball!”
Mark’s top tips are:
* If you have a ticket, do a bit of research to work out the best vantage points for you: “Everyone tries to work that out. You want to make sure that, if I’m here I can see that green, I might be able to see that tee, and then I might be able to move down there to go and see something else’.”
Other people, he says, like to follow their favourites: “That’s not always easy because other people think the same thing.”
* If you haven’t got a ticket – you can’t just turn up on the day – don’t worry, you can still make the most of it, ‘by watching it, listening to it, and reading about it.”