Last weekend’s PGA Tour stop in Pacific Palisades, Calif., was just another reminder of what a wonderful layout Riviera Country Club is. The Los Angeles Times, in fact, waved the flag and resurrected the idea that Riviera should get another chance to host a U.S. Open, something it hasn’t done since 1948.
Steve Elling of CBSSports.com agreed that the course is worthy, but after talking to the USGA’s Mike Davis, the senior director of rules and competitions, doesn’t like Riviera’s chances and offers a dose of reality to the Times’ wishful thinking.
“Riviera has had an invitation in for the U.S. Open for years,” said Davis. “We love the golf course
itself, we want to move the tournament around, and we haven’t been
there in 60 years. The challenge of Riviera is how to put on a U.S. Open logistically with the footprint they have there.”Sorry to stomp on the club’s Southern California dream, but for
Riviera to host a U.S. Open in 2018 or thereafter, it’s going to either
require a squadron of helicopters to parachute fans and players onto
the property, a massive earthquake to clear out the hillside neighbors,
or something akin to turning Sunset Boulevard into another freeway. Despite assertions Monday in the Los Angeles Times that the
course is a workable venue, nothing has changed since it last hosted an
Open in 1948, when Ben Hogan limped his way to victory. In fact, the
course has become even more claustrophobic as the National Open has
grown even larger.
Picking Riviera would amount to staging a “boutique-type U.S. Open,”
Davis said. That his polite way of saying, “we would barely make a
dime,” because ticket sales would be limited because of access and
traffic flow issues.
Elling concludes by offering up Los Angeles Country Club, which has 36 holes and therefore enough room for an Open, as an alternative I-love-LA site. Reading between the lines of the comments by Davis, the bottom line is, sorry about that, Riviera.