Double Dip: Pinehurst, USGA Preparing For History-Making U.S. Open Championships
Pinehurst Resort's No. 2 course this year for the first time will host the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in successive weeks, and USGA officials said that they "want the two weeks to be a showcase of the best players golf has to offer," according to John Nagy of the Southern Pines PILOT. With less than two months until the events, the area around the course is "bustling with activity." Fencing has "gone up around the course’s perimeter, workers are installing grandstands along certain holes and large corporate hospitality tents are well under construction." U.S. Open Championships Senior Dir Reg Jones said that most tickets have "sold out for the men’s championship." Nagy noted the USGA currently is "expecting between 50,000 and 55,000 people on peak competition days for the U.S. Open and 20,000 to 25,000 for the Women’s Open." USGA VP & Championship Committee Chair Dan Burton said, "We have sold out of our two-week series ticket packages and there is a limited number of daily and weekly gallery tickets available for purchase at usopen.com." He added, "Merchandise sales have been very strong with an overwhelming demand for our joint logo merchandise. ... All tents and clubhouse options are sold out and there is only a handful of weekly and daily tables still available.” Another problem "unique to the consecutive championships has been balancing the needs for the ongoing men's championship and the female players who arrive early to start practicing." Officials will make Pinehurst's No. 7 course "available on Saturday and Sunday to the female players who come in early and want to practice." Ground crews also will "try to approximate green conditions on No. 7 to what the players will face on the No. 2 course" (Southern Pines PILOT, 4/22).
NO FEAR: LPGA player President Vicki Goetze-Ackerman said of possible issues, "Yes, things will pop up. But things pop up when we don't have back-to-back Opens, too. Neither Pinehurst nor the USGA want to have egg on their face. They want it to be as good as possible. I feel confident it's going to be OK. Overall, I think this is great for women's golf" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 4/22).