by Jeff Skinner
Thursday’s fans at the US Open were treated to one of Mother Nature’s miracles. Mother Nature turned one of the best conditioned, world class golf courses into a rain soaked, mud laden mess of runaway streams and puddles. The fans saw very little golf and did the best they could to pass the time while the USGA waited for the rain to subside and try to play more golf. Watch Angry John Hawkins in the rain. The fans jammed into the Trophy Club and the corporate hospitality tents, crowded into the merchandise tent, sat in the bleachers, stood in the rain and drank a few beers, anything to make it through the long delay. They did all this with a good natured, positive attitude. Most of the fans realized that this is something you can’t control. It’s like a rainout in baseball. You buy your ticket and get to the game, if it rains and the game gets cancelled that’s bad luck. However, you’ll get to use that ticket as a “rain check” for another game. That is how many fans felt when they left the course in the pouring rain. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works with the USGA.
The USGA is big on rules and the rule on using “rain checks” is disappointing. This is the message on the US Open Website:
The USGA says Thursday’s tickets are only good for Thursday. That’s a shame. Thousands of people forked over big dollars, ($100 Grounds Tickets, $150 Trophy Club Tickets) drove for several hours, took time off from work to stand in the rain and see a few holes of golf. I drove two and half hours, paid for two $150 tickets and got to see absolutely zero shots. I understand that the USGA has a problem with allowing the tickets to be used again for another day of play. But, they are missing the boat here. There has to be some method of compensation to the ticket holders that got screwed by Mother Nature and the USGA. How about a refund or a partial refund? How about using the tickets for another day of play? They could use the odd number tickets for Friday and even numbers for Saturday admission. Maybe they could have used these tickets for a playoff if there was one. None of these solutions will be considered by the USGA as they have already stated that Thursday’s tickets are worthless and we can throw them away.
Those tickets represent a big chunk of cash and commitment by the fans and for the USGA not to recognize this is second rate. The USGA likes to say it is committed to growing and caring for the game of golf. They have a chance here to take action to do the right thing for its fans. They can prove to the fans that they are concerned with them and make some kind of effort to make up for the “rain out.” After all, aren’t the fans part of the game? Care for the game and care for the fans. It’s the right thing to do.
I’ll be heading back to Bethpage on Friday. Maybe I’ll get to see some golf.