John Strege pens this week's excellent Golf World cover story on Torrey Pines (but only found at ESPN.com!?) and wins this month's prize for best lead (because I know how much he'll appreciate it, he will be getting a year-long subscription to Mother Jones ).
Anyway, the lead:
Where to begin in this sordid saga of politics and passion that has provoked an uncivil war in San Diego and is sucking the euphoria from Torrey Pines GC's imminent appointment with history? The South Course renovation? Fait accompli. The North Course redesign? Tabled. A new clubhouse? A tournament support building? Expensive minutiae.Strege ably covers the entire saga, but these comments from David Fay left me wondering something:
So let's begin with the strip club.
The sunny disposition that the city's claim largely is based on has taken its leave in the wake of this growing rift. "I won't say it's a Hatfield and McCoy situation," says USGA executive director David Fay, who has rejected overtures to enter the fray. "It hasn't gotten that bad. But it's definitely a family feud. I think there's a compromise position. What that is, I don't know."
"Being a resident of New Jersey," Fay says, "I'm no stranger to squabbles involving municipalities. This is a San Diego issue that not only elected and appointed officials have to sort through, but also the citizens. I can't control the perception. It would not surprise me that some might look at the 2008 Open and wish it weren't being played at Torrey Pines, but that's not unique, either. It happens at every club, every championship we go to, even Winged Foot [site of the 2006 Open]. We had that at Bethpage, too. But it's definitely a minority."
Now, he says this is something for the people of San Diego and for the USGA not to involve itself in. As with many things the Executive Director says, he makes great sense...on the surface. But when you dig deeper...
The erosion of trust had begun and inevitably rumors followed. The Friends of Torrey Pines was said to be behind the North redesign, that to entice the USGA to return with, say, a U.S. Amateur, a strong 36 holes would be required. "I heard that," says Jay Rains, who heads the Friends of Torrey Pines and later became a member of the USGA Executive Committee. "The Friends of Torrey Pines is dedicated only to the U.S. Open in 2008."
My understanding is that the Friends of Torrey Pines continues to include Jay Rains, who is still also on the USGA Executive Commitee.
So wouldn't the USGA have an interest to get involved with someone so involved in both organizations? Or is it an obligation to get involved? Especially considering the millions it will rake in at the 2008 Open? Is that enough rhetorical questions?