Hoylake to cope without Woods

  • Last Updated: April 24 2014, 7:44 BST

The world's best players will notice few changes when the Open Championship returns to Hoylake for the first time since 2006 this summer.

Tiger Woods: Suffering with injury
Tiger Woods: Suffering with injury

And championship officials are confident the possible absence of world number one Tiger Woods will also mean no major difference in attendance figures from July 17-20.

Hoylake will play just 54 yards longer than when Woods won in 2006 when it stages the Open for the 12th time, with the major difference seeing the par-four seventh hole increased from 453 yards to 480. The overall yardage is 7,312.

Eight years ago Woods bounced back from missing the cut at the US Open following the death of his father Earl to win his 11th major title, but the 38-year-old is currently sidelined following back surgery.

Woods missed the Masters for the first time in his career earlier this month and looks set to miss the US Open as well, his friend Notah Begay saying last week that Woods needs to give his back "a minimum of 90 days" of rest to avoid the risk of re-injuring it.

The US Open, which provided Woods with his last major title in 2008, takes place at Pinehurst from June 12-15.

Malcolm Booth, the R&A's director of communications, said: "There's no doubt that Tiger Woods' impact on the game of golf is huge and he is still a massive draw, but we've had Opens without him before in 2008 and 2011.

"The Open has always drawn a great crowd and we are sure we will again this year. We saw huge novelty and excitement in 2006 when we returned for the first time since 1967 and so I think that created very, very high crowds. We don't anticipate the same 230,000 this year, but we expect around 200,000."

There will be seating for 20,000 spectators on the course with a "horseshoe" structure of grandstands surrounding the 18th green.

Rhodri Price, the R&A's director of operations, said: "That's something we can't do at any other venue and we think it's a great chance to wrap the 18th and create a great atmosphere."

Large LED screens will be placed on each hole apart from the 18th, which will retain the iconic yellow scoreboard, with a Wi-Fi mesh again surrounding the course to allow spectators to follow the action on mobile devices.

A six-figure sum has been spent on the technology required and Booth added: "We think this is the most innovative technology at any golf championship in the world.

"We intend to lead the way on this moving forward. I used it at Muirfield last year and it worked well and we think in the next three to five years the technology is going to become extremely robust.

"The big challenge at a golf tournament is that you are only able to be at one hole at a time and we hope this allows spectators to keep up to date with what is happening around the course. We think the benefit is significant."