R&A: no idea what effect Woods’ absence would have

The Royal & Ancient says it is too soon to say what effect

Tiger Woods’ absence would have on attendances at next year’s

British Open.

History suggests location not lineup is the biggest factor on

crowd size.

Woods was recovering from knee surgery when more than 200,000

spectators ignored inclement weather to watch Ireland’s Padraig

Harrington win last year’s title at Royal Birkdale in England.

Only 130,000 watched Woods at Turnberry this year, although

crowds are traditionally lower when the tournament is on Scotland’s

west coast.

R&A spokesman Malcolm Booth said Saturday “we will have to

wait and see when Tiger returns. We always want to see the world

No. 1 playing in The Open and hope he will be there in July.”