THE 40,000 people who thronged the Adare Manor Hotel and Golf Resort course yesterday and helped to cause massive tailbacks on the roads leading to the Co Limerick village scarcely appreciated the lengths to which JP McManus and his committee had gone to ensure the safe and timely arrival of the star names.
A party of 78 including the players, families and caddies travelled by specially chartered aircraft after the finish of the AT&T National tournament in Pennsylvania. They left Philadelphia airport at approximately 9pm local time (2am Irish) and arrived at Shannon Airport around 9am yesterday.
2006 US Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman and Fred Funk, who had competed in a Champions Tour event in Montreal on Sunday, made their way to Philadelphia in time to catch the flight.
Meanwhile, another plane was chartered to bring a group of European players from Paris where they had been competing in the French Open. Graeme McDowell, the new US Open champion, came in by helicopter from his home in Portrush and a few others made their way by less glamorous means to ensure their presence at the most famous Pro-Am on the globe.
Indeed, the event has now assumed such proportions that record crowds of 40,000 flocked to the Co Limerick venue with the result that all the entrance caps have been sold out and therefore will not be available for the second and final day’s play.
Spectators today are advised to expect traffic delays and are urged to allow plenty of time for journeys.
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