Published Monday, 25 June 2012
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PGA champion Keegan Bradley was greeted by Graeme McDowell outside the clubhouse at Royal Portrush late on Monday afternoon.
Another major champion, Padraig Harrington, took to the driving range to record a commercial for the European tour.
It comes as organisers reveal that tickets for all but Thursday's opening day have all been snapped up, with thousands of people expected to come and watch the competition.
Ballyclare golfer Gareth Maybin, who was also out practising on the links, said he's confident a local player can be crowned champion.
"I'd say we will get a Northern Irish winner, no doubt," he told UTV.
"We are expecting over 100,000 people which is phenomenal. I played at Wintworth this year which is our flagship event and I think they had 96,000 people and there was not a whole lot of room left so this should be a hell of an atmosphere around here."
Northern Ireland's own golfing heroes Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke will all be in action this week.
The new kid in town, new British amateur champion Alan Dunbar, is also in the mix.
"I do not think it has really sank in yet so I will just try and get through this week obviously and try and have a good week," said Dunbar, who also has the Open, Masters and US Open to look forward to within the next 12 months.
"It has been nice to add the Open obviously to the schedule so it means pulling out of the north here in a couple of weeks.
"I am happy enough to pull out and go and play in the Open. It is going to be special."
With only a handful of players taking to the course on Monday, it will be by far the quietest day of the week at Royal Portrush.
A turn out of up to 15,000 spectators is expected on Tuesday as the first official practice day is held ahead of the tournament proper.