Tod Leonard reports on the cash cow that the Torrey Pines U.S. Open is becoming and boy just in the knick of time to help pay those pesky USGA employees who expect things like...health benefits! Damn people!
“It has gone extremely well,” Griffin said. “We are at or beyond any other Open in terms of general inventory sales and gross dollar sales. People were really starved for something like this, and they have really embraced the opportunity.”
We're moving inventory! That's what happens when you have good product. Just ask Tony Montana.
“It has been terrific, as good as it gets,” said Pete Bevacqua, the USGA's managing director for all U.S. Opens.
The Open by which all other Opens will be judged – at least before Torrey Pines – is the 2002 event at Bethpage Black on Long Island that generated enormous interest because it was the first Open to be staged on a state-operated facility where everyday golfers regularly played.
Bethpage smashed attendance records, drawing 297,500 fans for the week, and Golfweek magazine reported the gross earnings likely exceeded $100 million for the nonprofit USGA, which uses the money to stage all of its other championships and support its golf programs.
There was an enormous city of 78 hospitality tents at Bethpage that cost as much as $175,000 apiece.
At Torrey Pines, the first municipal course to host an Open, there will be about 60 tents in three villages on the North Course (many of them going for $210,000 each for the week), but there are 11 other hospitality areas, mostly situated in the Lodge, that well exceed $175,000.