Jun
26
2009
Closing Words on the US Open
By Stephanie Wei under General

I know, it’s a little after the fact, but I just have one more thing I need to get off my chest before I let go of the US Open. I thought there was an excessive amount of whining and complaining. Sure, the conditions were less than ideal. It rained a lot and it was super muddy. There were delays. Not a single round was completed in the same day. Balls were plugging in the fairway. The greens were bumpy. There were times the grounds crew had to squeegee the greens before the players putted. And even that didn’t help much. So all of those things sucked.

But to say this was the worst US Open? Rather extreme. It was a strange one, no denying that, but all things considered, I thought it was fantastic. Look, the USGA can’t control the weather. If we’ve learned anything, Mother Nature always wins. It’s golf. What do you expect? You play OUTSIDE – rain or shine. I agree the players should have been pulled off the course earlier on Thursday. But the pros choose to play golf as their job and the pay ain’t bad either. And to those who have a problem playing in inclement weather every once in a while, then get a job that doesn’t require being outside. However, overall, few complained (at least publicly). The press did it for them.

I’m going to assume that many of the critics didn’t wander far from the press tent – which is a shame because they missed out. Perhaps that’s also why they were so disparaging.

It really bothered me how much Bethpage was slammed as a venue. As if the same thing wouldn’t have happened in Dayton, San Diego or Orlando, under similar weather conditions. I heard some say the Open shouldn’t be held there again. Several griped the 18th hole was too short on the last day, which made the ending even more anti-climactic. I’ll concur, but it didn’t take away that much. I sat in the grandstand behind 18 and watched the leaders come in. It was still exciting. Others argued the drainage at the public course isn’t up to par. It could have been better, but there was so much rain anyway (again, no control over the weather). And don’t get me started if anyone was insinuating Bethpage wasn’t good enough because it’s a public track.

Regardless, Bethpage was and still is a great venue for the US Open or any other major tournament (like the Ryder Cup). It’s the “people’s course.” It parallels New York in that it’s tough and gritty, but holds its own. On the outside, both might not look “perfect,” but the experience is amazing – if you can survive. And if you can’t handle it, you’ll be chewed up and spit out.

As it happened, we witnessed that at Bethpage. I’ll bet Lucas Glover never uttered a negative word all week. Instead, he quietly played his way to the winner’s circle.