The USGA has a heart! The people have spoken, and the administrators of the People’s Open have listened!
For you 40,000 people, give or take 30,000, who still have your soggy Thursday tickets, you may now use them for Monday’s golf at Bethpage, if there is any. If the tournament ends Sunday, which seems highly unlikely, you get half your money back. (You threw out your ticket because the USGA said Thursday afternoon the tickets had no value? Don’t freak out. Cameron Morfit says the USGA has you covered.)
My boss, Jim Herre, SI’s golf editor, has another suggestion for the USGA: Allow the first 55,000 people in Monday morning, for free. No charge. Gratis. On the house. (Fifty-five thousand is the maximum capacity at Bethpage Black, according the the USGA.) Now that would be the ideal way for the USGA to show it really cares, and to undo some of the damage. I think that approach is somewhat impractical, however. What happens if it’s Tiger-Phil in a playoff and all of New York and its teeming suburbs come out for it? Bedlam, New York-style.
I suggest this: golf is a game of honor. If you can honestly say that you had a Thursday ticket, but you threw it out on the advice of the USGA, the gents will furnish you a new one.
On Thursday night, I was one voice among thousands who felt outraged. Evidently, the USGA heard us.
I applaud the USGA’s about-face here. It takes a real man to admit he made a mistake. Women do it all the time, but still. (The USGA is a male-dominated organization if ever there was one.) Nicely done, sirs (and its few madams).
Now the USGA can fix its rain policy for the future and make sure that rash statements like “throw out your tickets” are not said again. And it would still be a nice gesture, as I suggested before, to give Thursday ticket holders a free visit to the USGA headquarters.
Still, the USGA has shown admirable flexibility in the face of making a mistake. Golf is an inflexible game, and that’s one if its strengths. The game has high standards. But those who run the sport don’t have to be inflexible to the point of ridiculousness.
They salvaged bogey on this one, and one bogey will never ruin your card. At least, not when you play the way we do.