SBJ/April 29-May 5, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Into the great wide Open: USGA putting out book, documentary highlighting tournament history

The U.S. Golf Association is releasing a coffee-table book next month and debuting a documentary about the U.S. Open in June, giving it two new platforms on which to show off its historical photos, footage and artifacts.

The book, “Great Moments of the U.S. Open,” contains hundreds of photos and stories from 28 memorable victories, from Billy Burke in 1931 to Rory McIlroy in 2011.

The coffee-table book will sell for $35 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and USGA.org.
The memorabilia pictured in the book, which will be released May 9, comes from the USGA’s own museum in Far Hills, N.J. The USGA has been in the publishing business before, but this book, featuring a foreword by Jack Nicklaus, represents an unprecedented “opening of the vault,” according to the association.

The book’s authors, Robert Williams and Michael Trostel, work in the USGA’s museum.

“The book leverages the abilities of the museum staff with the artifacts, the photos and the memorabilia that bring the game to life,” said Sarah Hirshland, the USGA’s senior managing director, business affairs. “We’ve been actively looking for more ways to utilize this enormous depth of content, and this is part of redoubling our efforts to drive awareness and tell the key stories of the U.S. Open and golf.”

The 208-page book, 10-by-10 inches in size, will sell for $35 at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the USGA’s own website, USGA.org. There will be 20,000 in the first run.

Also key to the USGA’s “content delivery strategy,” as Hirshland put it, is a documentary on the 1971 U.S. Open, won by Lee Trevino at Merion, site of this year’s Open. The one-hour documentary, produced by Golf Channel, will run on NBC before the third or fourth round of the U.S. Open in June. It will run on Golf Channel another seven times.

Hirshland, who joined the USGA from Wasserman Media Group in September 2011, came out with the association’s first major film project last year when it teamed with former HBO Sports producer Ross Greenburg to make a documentary on the 50-year anniversary of Nicklaus’ first U.S. Open championship. That one-hour film ran on NBC prior to the final-round coverage of last year’s Open.

For the 1971 Trevino story, Golf Channel’s production team, led by Keith Allo, vice president of programming and original productions, is handling the assignment. Costs for such a project typically run in the $500,000 range or more.

Hirshland said the USGA is partnering with Chevron to develop golf-themed video and print content to support Chevron’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiative. The association also is working with corporate partner Rolex on a four-part documentary series that will air in international markets later this year.

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