SBD/June 24, 2014/Events and Attractions

Back-To-Back U.S. Opens At Pinehurst May Prove A "Break-Even" Financial Effort

Officials expect attendance numbers for both events to be near 340,000
USGA Exec Dir Mike Davis said that holding the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in back-to-back weeks at Pinehurst No. 2 "might be a break-even proposition for the USGA, even though there was a savings -- the USGA won’t say how much -- in keeping the infrastructure in place for a second week," according to Alexander & DeCock of the Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER. Davis added that those savings would be "offset by reduced revenue because corporate hospitality sales and ticket sales were coupled to cover both events." Final attendance figures for the Opens "aren’t complete, and the USGA said total attendance for the two weeks will be about 340,000." In comparison, the '05 U.S. Open at Pinehurst "drew 325,000, setting an attendance record." Holding the events in back-to-back weeks at Pinehurst "went as smoothly -- and the USGA believes, successfully -- as anyone could have anticipated." Davis before the U.S. Open began said that the two-week run "wouldn't be perfect." Alexander & DeCock: "But it came pretty close." It helped that there was "just one weather suspension during the two weeks -- for a thunderstorm late in the first round of the Women’s Open." Davis: "Mother Nature gave us a big, big break" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/24).

HIGHS & LOWS: In Raleigh, Luke DeCock reports Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore’s restoration of the No. 2 course "to the spirit of Donald Ross’ original 1907 design ... received rave reviews." The course "held up beautifully, with the greens playing as smooth and as pure on the final day of the Women’s Open as they had during the men’s practice rounds." However, an "unexpected drought this spring" left No. 2’s Bermuda grass brown in wide areas outside the middle of the fairways, "making for unattractive television viewing, albeit without impacting play." It also was "beastly hot at times during both events," and the USGA was "forced to issue vouchers for free bottled water" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/24). GOLF WORLD's Jim Moriarty writes there is "a lot that could have gone wrong." The USGA "took great pains to make sure the examination Michelle Wie faced at Pinehurst No. 2 was just as fresh as the one Martin Kaymer passed so superbly." All of the hypothetical problems "seemed just that, hypothetical." The USGA prepared by "collecting 50,000 data points on both the men and women" (GOLF WORLD, 6/30 issue).
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