It's been amusing watching the banter in press and blogosphere over the conduct of the fans at Bethpage Black this week.
You'll hear different tales of how good or how bad they were, but one thing is certain: the fans braved the rain and the mud and supported the event...and that they added a rich, spicy flavor to the proceedings. There are few fans of any sport more stalwart or determined than the New Yorker, and without any doubt, the USGA had no worries over the weekend that the fans would brave the elements regardless of the challenge they presented.
New Yorkers, for better or worse are direct and blunt, but one can always be certain where they stand with a New Yorker. No passive-aggression from that lot at a sporting event, and they will let a player know it when they've done well or they've done poorly. At a Masters or a US Open in another city, you might hear a couple scattered claps or silence following a poor shot. Not in New York. Someone will pipe up and let the golfer know exactly what the crowd is thinking.
Imagine, if you will, the 128th Open Championship at Carnoustie being held in the New York area and the crowd reaction to Jean Van De Velde's utterly silly collapse on the final hole. By the time Van de Velde had taken his third shot, the one in the heathers where he moved the ball only a few feet, if you were on the east coast you would have been able to hear the fans' catcalls. And it would have only gotten worse for the Frenchman as he took his fourth, fifth, and sixth shots on his way to throwing away the championship.
It will be quite a while until we get another taste of Big Apple hospitality in our national golfing championship, however. Future sites for the US Open are
2010 – Pebble Beach Golf Links (Pebble Beach, California – June 17–20)
2011 – Congressional Country Club, Blue Course (Bethesda, Maryland – June 16–19)
2012 – The Olympic Club, Lake Course (San Francisco, California – June 14–17)
2013 – Merion Golf Club, East Course (Ardmore, Pennsylvania – June 13–16)
2014 – Pinehurst Resort, Course #2 (Pinehurst, North Carolina – June 12–15)
2015 – Chambers Bay (University Place, Washington – June 18–21)
2016 – Oakmont Country Club (Oakmont, Pennsylvania – June 16–19)
and it is a virtual certainty that taken as a whole the galleries at these sites will be much more, shall we say, discriminating in their commentary towards players.
No matter where your opinion falls regarding the fans this week, there is an event in golf where they would provide a home-field advantage non-pareil: the Ryder Cup. Why that isn't planned for the near future is somewhat mystiying:
2012 Medinah Country Club, Medinah, Illinois, U.S.A.
2016 Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2020 Ryder Cup Whistling Straits (Straits Course), Kohler, Wisconsin
The Ryder Cup should be in the tri-state area, stat. The Euros would have two years to dread playing in that crowd, and they would more than likely cross the Atlantic already defeated by the idea. And the NY fans would be all to happy to let them know about it.
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