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Alan Grant reports on Open preparations
"Enthusiasts are heading to St Andrews in their droves"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 19 July, 2000, 16:52 GMT 17:52 UK
Open golf drive advice
QE2 off Anstruther
The QE2 arrives off Anstruther
Golf enthusiasts heading for the Millennium Open in St Andrews have been warned not to be bunkered by roads delays.

A park-and-ride scheme and a special train service are among the moves aimed at easing congestion as hundreds of thousands of people descend on the home of golf.

But Fife Constabulary has warned drivers that traffic delays are still almost inevitable for those heading to the Old Course.

Police expect a record crowd to visit the town for the 129th Open Championships, which tees off at 0700(BST) on Thursday.

Paul Lawrie
Watch the birdie: Paul Lawrie gets some pointers
Current champion Paul Lawrie is defending his title against a field including fellow Scot Colin Montgomerie and American Tiger Woods.

The force has already distributed more than 100,000 copies of a travel information booklet advising drivers to allow plenty of time for the journey and to remain patient in tailbacks.

"At previous Open Championships traffic delays have been encountered on the A91 between St Andrews and Guardbridge and this year, to minimise any problems, a 3,000-space park-and-ride car park will operate near Guardbridge," said a Fife Constabulary spokesman.

"All routes are clearly signed by the AA from the Forth, Kincardine and Tay Bridges inwards and, in order to keep delays to a minimum, it is being strongly advised that drivers follow the signs and use the recommended routes."

Animal checks

Tow-away zones will be strictly enforced in St Andrews itself and those parking illegally will face a 105 removal charge and a 20 fixed penalty - as well as a 12 daily storage fee.

The SSPCA will be patrolling car parks to check on the welfare of animals and temporary police office have been set up within the Tented Village and at The Scores.

Those prepared to leave their car at home can take advantage of the Golflink service, which includes train travel to the nearby Leuchars station, a bus to the site and the cost of admission.

Jack Nicklaus on the 18th tee
Jack Nicklaus tees off on the 18th
"This is undoubtedly one of the major world events of the Millennium and, in anticipation that a record number of tickets will be sold, every effort has to be made to ensure that it is successful and safe for spectators, other visitors and St Andrews residents alike," added the police spokesman.

The publicity generated by the event is expected to bring many extra visitors in its aftermath.

But Merchants Association chairman Bob Inch said shopkeepers were not expecting an immediate bonanza.

"They actually see a dip in trade, albeit that there are hundreds of thousands of extra people coming to St Andrews," he said.

"Most of the local customers tend to stay away at this time - particularly on Thursday, Friday and Saturday - because they fear that they won't get parked and will get caught in traffic."

Those heading for the Open will include passengers on the QE2 cruise liner, which berthed at Anstruther on Wednesday and will remain there for the duration of the championships.

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