Southampton, N.Y.'s Sebonack Golf Club this week hosted the U.S. Women's Open and "emerged as a major player" in golf, according to Mark Herrmann of NEWSDAY. But the "question is, what is next?" Sebonack Owner Michael Pascucci said, "I haven't thought about it. We're just finishing this out. But I think we certainly would think about doing something every eight to 10 to 12 years." The course this week proved it is "hearty enough for a men's U.S. Open." But it is an open question "whether the property could sustain three times the infrastructure it had this week." USGA sources said that it "would not bring its crown jewel so close to Shinnecock Hills, already an Open site." But Sebonack "has the right to aim high." The course "looked spectacular on TV" and it would be a "shame not to put it on the air again." The crowds this week were "only OK, not great." But maybe it was "because of the weather or the lack of American contenders" (NEWSDAY, 7/1).
STAYING PUT: GOLFCHANNEL.com's Jason Sobel noted Tiger Woods is "lobbying to keep" the PGA Tour AT&T National at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., "beyond its current contractual obligation, which runs through next year." Woods said, "The membership has been fantastic. We've enjoyed our time here. Trust me, we'd like to come back." He added, "This is a huge sporting town. They really support their sports here" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 6/30). Of the crowds at the AT&T National, Comcast Sportsnet’s Chick Hernandez said, “It’s been a little bit decreased obviously with Tiger not being here and then Justin Rose, as you said, withdrawing right before the tournament. ... If Robert Griffin III for the Redskins was advertised as being out here, then they might come out even more” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 6/29).
The USA Swimming Phillips 66 National Championships & World Championship Trials last week in Indianapolis, the first U.S. Championships or trials without retired swimmer Michael Phelps since '98, "drew paltry crowds to the Indiana University Natatorium," according to Philip Hersh of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Swimming attendance without Phelps "depends almost entirely on families of athletes." It "remains an Olympic-year sport to all but its own community of athletes, coaches, officials and parents." Attendance for the "five nights of swim nationals" concluding last Saturday "was 1,191, 2,500, 1,265, 1,522 and 1,230." That is "barely one-third of the attendance at the previous nationals in Indianapolis" in '09, when Phelps swam five events. Phelps' coach Bob Bowman said, "I'm a little disappointed. (Everyone said) this was the golden age of U.S. swimming." Bowman added, "As we get closer to the Olympics, it's better. [U.S. Olympic Gold medal-winner Missy Franklin], I think, will take over that role (as a major draw). She is just beginning it." The '12 Olympic trials, in "a much bigger venue, had average attendance of 11,136 for 15 sessions." USA Swimming Exec Dir Chuck Wielgus said, "There is not a 'pop' at this meet, not an energy. While that certainly concerns us, I'm not worried about it over the long term." Hersh wrote swimming "remains a tough sell for live spectators, who see mainly water splashed by athletes whose faces barely are visible." It is "often impossible to know the order of finish without looking at the scoreboard, even for people sitting right above the finish line" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/30).
SECOND FIDDLE TO OMAHA: In Indianapolis, David Woods reported renovation of the IU Natatorium "could cost nearly" $20M. The "earliest another world team trials could be sited here" is '17. The '16 Olympic Trials "will be held in a temporary pool" in Omaha, as they were in '12 and '08. Indianapolis was "unsuccessful in its bid" for the '16 trials, "proposing Lucas Oil Stadium as the venue." USA Swimming Events & Marketing Dir Dean Ekeren said that there "have been talks about helping to finance Natatorium renovation but that the national governing body has never done anything like that." Indianapolis is a "desirable destination because of experienced organizers, central location and seating capacity (4,700)." Configuration of the facility was "3,500 for these nationals, and the Natatorium remains the nation’s largest permanent aquatics venue" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/30).