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  Thursday, 20 July, 2000, 19:47 GMT 20:47 UK
St Andrews' number one fans
Golfing fans
Fans from all over the world are enjoying St Andrews
Fans from all over the world have travelled to see this year's Open at St Andrews and BBC Sport Online's Alasdair Lamont catches up with a few of them.

There are few events in the sporting world which bring fans from as many countries together as The Open.

The fact that the millennium Open is being held at St Andrews simply adds to the attraction. Golf fans the world over have laid siege upon this small, historic town for a week of unforgettable golf.

Among those making their first visit to The Open, there is a sense of awe, while the more-seasoned Open visitors still relish the trip to the home of golf to taste the atmosphere distilled with centuries of tradition.

Thousands of Americans have arrived in Scotland to give their backing to the considerable US contingent playing this week.

Few are arguing with the bookmakers' choice, Tiger Woods, though Tom Lehman, Mark O'Meara and David Duval, among others, all have their share of supporters.

Los Angeles

Brian MacDonald, an American despite the Scottish name, travelled from Los Angeles to be in St Andrews this week and he cannot see past Woods.

"I'm here for the first time, but I've been at Opens before, at Lytham St Annes and Carnoustie - I am a complete golf fanatic.

"I'm here to see Tiger and I believe he will win it."

It is not only the Americans who believe Tiger will walk away with the Claret Jug and the Grand Slam of Major victories.

Yorkshireman, Joe Burke, up for his first visit to St Andrews, is convinced Woods will do the business.

"I'm pretty sure he'll do it, especially if the weather stays like this," he said.

"Maybe Duval or Ernie Els can push him, but I don't think they'll stop him."

Mike Cole, president of the Welsh Golf Union, is also making his first Open visit, though St Andrews is a place he has often been in the past.

His admiration for the place is huge.

"It's a fantastic place, magical," he said.

"You walk through the town and you breathe the atmosphere - it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

"The history of the place, with all the stories that surround it, makes it a great place to be."

Claret Jug

Cole was following Ian Woosnam and Phil Price round the course, but he is another who believes the Claret Jug has Woods' name on it already.

"In these conditions, Tiger has to be odds-on, although if John Daly can hit straight this week, he won't be far away because no-one hits it further than him."

Shaun Ferguson and Luanne Acawell from Zimbabwe are here to watch a friend of theirs, Adilson Da Silva, who came through qualifying.

They are overwhelmed by the scale of the set-up at St Andrews.

"It's just huge, really overbearing, and so many people - but really exciting," said Shaun.

Seve Ballesteros
Seve's Open win in 1984

"Everything is so big - I didn't realise there would be so many people," said Luanne.

"I'm not really into golf but it's interesting just being here and learning about the place."

And, believe it or not, there are a few Scots at St Andrews this week as well.

Roger Barnes and his wife, Laura, are veterans of Opens at the Old Course, having been here in 1984 to see Seve win, 1990 when Nick Faldo was victorious, and 1995 as John Daly blasted his way to glory.

The Barnes', who hail from nearby Glenrothes, say they would not miss the occasion for anything.

"This is the best place in the world to watch golf," said Roger.

"We've also been to the Masters at Augusta, and we were down at Loch Lomond last week, but nothing compares to the atmosphere here - it's unique."

"All we need now is for Monty to win and it would be the perfect week," added Laura.

"With this weather, though, I think one of the Americans will win."

The Open at St.Andrews
20th - 23rd July

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Champions
Complete list of Open winners since 1860


Road Hole perils

See also:

20 Jul 00 | The Open
19 Jul 00 | The Open
11 Jul 00 | The Open
19 Jul 00 | Photo Galleries
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