Friday, June 19, 2009

Fans Compensated For Soggy Thursday

Yesterday was a rare Thursday in the New York City area. There were two quality sporting events taking place during the day, one at Yankee Stadium and the other at Bethpage State Park Pond out on Long Island. A steady rain drowned the area, leaving both the Stadium and the course, as Stuart Appleby said, "Wetter then[sic] an otter's pocket."

Golf can typically be played in the rain so as long as there isn't any lightining, and the course doesn't become inundated with casual water. It typically has a slightly higher tolerance to precipitation than baseball does, but yesterday that was not the case. Play at Bethpage was suspended only 15 minutes after ESPN's TV coverage of the event began. The USGA thought they saw a window where play could resume around 1:30PM, but like the Yankees' false alarm at 4:00, that never came to fruition. Play was never resumed.

The Yankees, on the other hand, did manage to get their game in. After the third longest rain delay in MLB history, the tarp was removed to make way for an extremely frustrating experience for the fans who did wait out the storm. There weren't many viable options. To their credit, the Yankees did try to make it up to their fans who stuck it out by clearing the upper deck and allowing fans to sit in the Main and Field Levels. Even better, the Yanks are accepting any tickets from last night, regardless if they were used to get in the Stadium, in exchange for another non-premium game any time this year or next.

The Yankees had it much easier than the USGA, though. The staff couldn't just tarp the greens at Bethpage, and they weren't able to build a perfect drainage system directly underneath the entire course just last year. The USGA could have tried to give away free tickets to future Opens, but the Tournament won't be returning to the area until at least 2016, if not longer. In addition, they would be losing a potential 1/4 of the gate revenue for that year, as opposed to the Yanks giving up 1/81. Furthermore, tickets to golf events, the U.S. Open included, are sold by the day, not the round, so they couldn't give away free passes for the later days without dealing with serious over-crowding issues.

After fielding what must have been an incredible influx of complaints, the USGA just announced that they would be accepting tickets from Thursday's washout to the likely Monday session. Unfortunatley for those who purchased tickets for Sunday, thinking it would be the deciding round get indirectly screwed by the weather also. The upside is there should be a healthy supply of available tickets on the secondary market. So if you can get Monday off from work, it might be the only chance you'll have to see an affordbale U.S. Open for a reasonable price, on a course that is at less than full capacity.

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