or Connect
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Tour Talk › Merion, the Yale Bowl, and Butler Fieldhouse
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Merion, the Yale Bowl, and Butler Fieldhouse - Page 3

post #37 of 59
I have only been to one professional tournament in my life. I attended the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick. I was at the Wednesday practice round and the Sunday round. At the time, I was 17 y/o and not the avid golfer I am today. Based on that experience, here are my thoughts...

The Wednesday practice round was really cool. It was easier to get closer to the golfers and find good spots on the course to watch shots. I became a Phil Blackmar fan that day because he actually chatted with my father and I for a few seconds while he was waiting to hit out of the rough. I remember he was a big dude, too...

The Sunday round was totally different. We stayed away from the finishing holes. Heck, they were already packed by the time we got there. We walked for a long while to find a good spot and finally ended up on the par 3 6th hole. We were about 50 yds short of the green, but had a great view of tee shots, chips/pitches, and putts. We stayed there and watched the entire field come through. We were amazed how many folks followed the big names, as hoards of people were walking (8 or 10 deep??) when the big names came through. We had a great time...

Based on that single experience, I couldn't imagine having an expectation of being able to easily see the leaders play late holes on Sunday. I also couldn't imagine (or even wanting) to have an opportunity to see every shot on every hole. When John Daly played past us, we were able to see him hit a drive on one of the later holes. We found a hilltop some 100+ yds away that allowed us to see over all the crowd (I was in awe how high his driver flew and how long it stayed in the air...).
post #38 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by boil3rmak3r View Post

I have only been to one professional tournament in my life. I attended the 1991 PGA Championship at Crooked Stick. I was at the Wednesday practice round and the Sunday round. At the time, I was 17 y/o and not the avid golfer I am today. Based on that experience, here are my thoughts...

The Wednesday practice round was really cool. It was easier to get closer to the golfers and find good spots on the course to watch shots. I became a Phil Blackmar fan that day because he actually chatted with my father and I for a few seconds while he was waiting to hit out of the rough. I remember he was a big dude, too...

The Sunday round was totally different. We stayed away from the finishing holes. Heck, they were already packed by the time we got there. We walked for a long while to find a good spot and finally ended up on the par 3 6th hole. We were about 50 yds short of the green, but had a great view of tee shots, chips/pitches, and putts. We stayed there and watched the entire field come through. We were amazed how many folks followed the big names, as hoards of people were walking (8 or 10 deep??) when the big names came through. We had a great time...

Based on that single experience, I couldn't imagine having an expectation of being able to easily see the leaders play late holes on Sunday. I also couldn't imagine (or even wanting) to have an opportunity to see every shot on every hole. When John Daly played past us, we were able to see him hit a drive on one of the later holes. We found a hilltop some 100+ yds away that allowed us to see over all the crowd (I was in awe how high his driver flew and how long it stayed in the air...).

For someone that has been to a bunch of these things as a Marshall, I could understand being disappointed with logistics. As someone who has only been to one, all the things you describe resemble my experience on that Sunday in 1991...
post #39 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post

 

Even at the reduced number, I can tell you that the spectators were inconvenienced. It was impossible to follow anybody, and just difficult in general to get around. Unless you parked yourself in a grandstand all day, it was hard to see any golf. I thought the setup was very unfair to people paying top dollar for a sporting event. If I wasn't marshalling and I didn't have inside-the-rope access, I wouldn't have gone near the place. Just getting there was a headache. I saw some great golf because of my access but, sometimes, myself and maybe a half dozen other people are the only ones who actually saw the shots live.

For this reason, Merion should never again have another Open, but there was already a rumor going around last night among the membership that the USGA will come back.

I'm with you on this. And so is Brandt Snedeker, who has been to a few golf tournaments here and there.

 

Here is a link to his statements: http://blogs.golf.com/presstent/2013/06/brandt-snedeker-doesnt-think-us-open-will-return-to-merion.html?sct=hp14

 

"Just from an infrastructure standpoint, from a fan standpoint, from a global marketing standpoint, I feel like this tournament needs more space to put on a championship in the right way."

post #40 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamo View Post


Maybe something like Fenway Park, or the old (pre-2009) Yankee Stadium would have been a better comparison?

They are/were both known for having short fences in the corners. Fenway is even like Merion in that it only seats ~35,000 people, far fewer than the average new MLB ballpark.

Or even the old Boston Garden (not to sound like a homer here, these are just the examples that I know the best). The way they overlaid the wood floor over the hockey ice was notoriously bad, and produced wet and dead spots that tended to favor the players who knew where to spot them.

 

Yes, what's because the main topic on this thread - the QUALITY of the specator experience - didn't seem to be the subject of Costas's bit at all.  WRT spectators, I only recall him mentioning the reduced number.

 

I thought of Fenway, which has hosted the World Series twice in this century, only after my initial posting.  Costas didn't mention that.  

post #41 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

Okay, we're all wrong, and you're right. Our experiences count for nothing, yours - however muddled they seem - count for everything. The experiences of the many people I've talked to at Merion also don't count. What do they know? Heck, two of them have only been to the last 37 U.S. Opens.

 

I give up.

 

Good. because I would suspect that somebody who has been to 37 US Opens is there for a reason and probably has full access to anywhere on the glf course (We called them "the orange people" because people with orange badges and lanyards were allowed to go anywhere). Ask the folks with the daily passes who got there too late to stake a spot in a grandstand how their experience was.

post #42 of 59

The truth is that attending a professional golf tournament is almost never a great spectator experience other than at a stadium course or one Pete Dye designed to hold a major. Access is difficult and finding a quality vantage point nearly impossible unless you get to a great grandstand early and stay all day.

 

I've attended a number of events at Oakland Hills South including a Ryder Cup and US Open and while it's a big course it's still hard to find a great place to watch and see a lot of shots. And getting there is tough. I live about 6 miles south of the course and had to drive 10 miles north of the course to catch a bus with the other 30,000 attendees. The best experience I had was attending the US Amateur as you can actually walk on the fairways and they played both the North and South courses. I helped a player find an errant tee shot that day on the North course.

post #43 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by MSchott View Post

The truth is that attending a professional golf tournament is almost never a great spectator experience other than at a stadium course or one Pete Dye designed to hold a major. Access is difficult and finding a quality vantage point nearly impossible unless you get to a great grandstand early and stay all day.

 

I've attended a number of events at Oakland Hills South including a Ryder Cup and US Open and while it's a big course it's still hard to find a great place to watch and see a lot of shots. And getting there is tough. I live about 6 miles south of the course and had to drive 10 miles north of the course to catch a bus with the other 30,000 attendees. The best experience I had was attending the US Amateur as you can actually walk on the fairways and they played both the North and South courses. I helped a player find an errant tee shot that day on the North course.

This is what we've been trying to explain to phan for 2 days now.  All big golf tournaments are like this one was.  It may be a smaller venue - which was accounted for by a reduced number of attendees - but the same problems exist at every big golf tournament on the weekend, and especially the majors.  You're not getting a good spot on any hole if you don't get there really early.

post #44 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

This is what we've been trying to explain to phan for 2 days now.  All big golf tournaments are like this one was.  It may be a smaller venue - which was accounted for by a reduced number of attendees - but the same problems exist at every big golf tournament on the weekend, and especially the majors.  You're not getting a good spot on any hole if you don't get there really early.

 

Don't be fooled by their announced attendance. There were at least 40,000 people on campus for Saturday and Sunday. And what I have been trying to explain to you for two days now is that I have been to too many of these things to count and it was the worst I have ever seen for spectators. Not even close.

post #45 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post

Don't be fooled by their announced attendance. There were at least 40,000 people on campus for Saturday and Sunday.

Says who?

post #46 of 59

Just my take and I have only been to one large event and that was just a practice round for the Ryder cup at Medinah.  It was a nightmare there as well.  You had to park at a racetrack, and take a bus ride for over 45 minutes just to get to the entrance.  Stood in line at the entrance for another 30 minutes and then it took 15 more just to walk to the clubhouse.  And still got there an hour before the action started.  You could hardly get between holes or follow a group of players around the course.  You essentially just had to park it somewhere and watch groups come through.  They also had spots that you could not really get to and if you made a wrong turn you would be blocked off from getting there.  As a spectator I was fine with it though and understand it is not easy to have a sporting event where you cannot always see or follow the action.    

 

I think the USGA knew how the course was going to play to their liking and could not pass that up.  They will make their money back when it comes here to Erin Hills in 2017 anyway.  That place is huge, was essentially built by the USGA and has a lot of natural viewing areas.  I was out the for the US AM when Kraft won and even there it is not that easy to get around and is so long, that it takes forever to get somewhere.  I am curious though what the revenue stream is like with ticket and merch sales compared to TV revenue?  

post #47 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Says who?

 

Sez a USGA employee I've become friendly with in the last year who would know. He also sez they are already seriously contemplating doing it again at Merion. He also sez that he hopes he's not working for the USGA when/if they do. He helped set up Oakmont, Bethpage and Congressional and he said this was the hardest by far. He loves his job and he loved being in Philly for the last 20 months but it was really a chore. He'll be heading up to Chambers Bay in a couple of months.

post #48 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher View Post

As a spectator I was fine with it though and understand it is not easy to have a sporting event where you cannot always see or follow the action.

Exactly.  When you go to events like this, you are not going for the fantastic viewing experience because if you want that you stay at home and watch on TV.  You are going for the atmosphere, the ability to say you've been, the spectacle, to see some famous players up close on occasion, just the whole experience.

 

When you go to a live football game, the same is true.  Your viewing experience isn't even remotely what it is like if you're at home.  Way too much other stuff going on.

 

Even at a slow paced baseball game it's easy to lose track of things.  I went to Angels/Yankees on Friday night, and we stayed for the whole game ... and I don't remember what the score was.  I know the Angels won, and I think it was 4-2, but I'm just not sure.

 

And don't even get me started about NASCAR.  20 laps into that thing there are cars on every single part of the track and it's practically impossible to tell who's winning.  They have announcers, but there is no way on earth you can here them when there are cars on your part of the track.

post #49 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by phan52 View Post

Sez a USGA employee I've become friendly with in the last year who would know. He also sez they are already seriously contemplating doing it again at Merion. He also sez that he hopes he's not working for the USGA when/if they do. He helped set up Oakmont, Bethpage and Congressional and he said this was the hardest by far. He loves his job and he loved being in Philly for the last 20 months but it was really a chore. He'll be heading up to Chambers Bay in a couple of months.

Like I said before, if they actually tried to cram the same amount of spectators as a normal open into this place, then I'd agree that you have a point.  Not sure, though, that your one, anonymous source is enough to go on, though.

 

But as far as whether or not this was harder to set up ... that isn't really what we're talking about is it?  I have no doubt it was a lot harder to organize than all of the rest of them and I wouldn't argue that at all because that isn't under dispute.  What is under dispute (by, presumably, only you and Rick Reilly) is whether or not it was worth it.  The consensus seems to be that it was.

post #50 of 59
Quote:
Don't be fooled by their announced attendance. There were at least 40,000 people on campus for Saturday and Sunday. And what I have been trying to explain to you for two days now is that I have been to too many of these things to count and it was the worst I have ever seen for spectators. Not even close.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Says who?

 

 

Quote:
Sez a USGA employee I've become friendly with in the last year who would know. He also sez they are already seriously contemplating doing it again at Merion. He also sez that he hopes he's not working for the USGA when/if they do. He helped set up Oakmont, Bethpage and Congressional and he said this was the hardest by far. He loves his job and he loved being in Philly for the last 20 months but it was really a chore. He'll be heading up to Chambers Bay in a couple of months.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Like I said before, if they actually tried to cram the same amount of spectators as a normal open into this place, then I'd agree that you have a point.  Not sure, though, that your one, anonymous source is enough to go on, though.

 

But as far as whether or not this was harder to set up ... that isn't really what we're talking about is it?  I have no doubt it was a lot harder to organize than all of the rest of them and I wouldn't argue that at all because that isn't under dispute.  What is under dispute (by, presumably, only you and Rick Reilly) is whether or not it was worth it.  The consensus seems to be that it was.

 

I'm not a name dropper and I am not going to just drop a person's name who works for the USGA into a chat board. The guy is friends with our Professional, who used to be an assistant at Oakmont and they met there. He's been over to our club to play numerous times in the last year and their relationship was certainly instrumental in our club getting the assignment for the 17th hole at a US Open.

 

It's become fairly obvious that you are just inclined to argue with me regardless. Bottom line, I was there, you were not. Believe what you want.

post #51 of 59

This was quite the 'who can top me' match (could've used another word but I digress) b/t Golfingdad and phan52.  However, getting to the original post, I think Costas was using a bit of hyperbole.  Since events of this type require more 'luxury' accommodations (for people like Costas himself), I'd compare an open at Merion more to having a Super Bowl at Lambeau or an All Star Game in a city like Memphis....places where big events are held, but it's a stretch logistically to pull off a super tier event.  My question would be, why with all the courses in PA/NJ that could host an Open (Baltusrol, Oakmont, Adirondack, etc.) would they take a risk like Merion (yes I know the history, but you won't see me putting on a pair of 30 waist pants just because I looked awesome in them back in 1998)

post #52 of 59

The experience of the on course spectators is what it is and it is determined by logistics, geography and the weather.

It is never going to be perfect unless it is Augusta, which is probably pretty close, but the real audience is the world wide TV audience.

You don't say that Merion will never hold another U.S. Open because local spectators found it a bit tough. They're always going to sell out anyway and spectators know what the deal is, or should.

TV audiences saw every single shot that nattered, pretty much. And I'm pretty sure the people on 5 didn't see what washappening around 15 and 16, so what's the problem?

Money is made by broadcast deals, not gate receipts.

post #53 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post

The experience of the on course spectators is what it is and it is determined by logistics, geography and the weather.

It is never going to be perfect unless it is Augusta, which is probably pretty close, but the real audience is the world wide TV audience.

You don't say that Merion will never hold another U.S. Open because local spectators found it a bit tough. They're always going to sell out anyway and spectators know what the deal is, or should.

TV audiences saw every single shot that nattered, pretty much. And I'm pretty sure the people on 5 didn't see what washappening around 15 and 16, so what's the problem?

Money is made by broadcast deals, not gate receipts.

Not sure, we're still trying to figure that out. :)

post #54 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shorty View Post

The experience of the on course spectators is what it is and it is determined by logistics, geography and the weather.

It is never going to be perfect unless it is Augusta, which is probably pretty close, but the real audience is the world wide TV audience.

You don't say that Merion will never hold another U.S. Open because local spectators found it a bit tough. They're always going to sell out anyway and spectators know what the deal is, or should.

TV audiences saw every single shot that nattered, pretty much. And I'm pretty sure the people on 5 didn't see what washappening around 15 and 16, so what's the problem?

Money is made by broadcast deals, not gate receipts.

 

They dropped a minuimum of $10 million in gate receipts by having the tournament at Merion as opposed to a larger venue. That's serious ca-ching. But they knew that going in.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Tour Talk
TheSandTrap.com › Golf Forum › The Clubhouse › Tour Talk › Merion, the Yale Bowl, and Butler Fieldhouse