With the U.S. Open this week, I feel it’s a good time to reflect on how lucky Long Island golf fans have been over the last decade. Since 2002, New York and primarily the Long Island area has hosted four U.S. Opens. We have seen some phenomenal golf and tremendous drama in those four tournaments. Now, with Pebble Beach being announced for the 2019 U.S. Open earlier today, it doesn’t seem that the USGA plans on returning in the near future.
I was rather disappointed when I heard the news today. Don’t get me wrong; Pebble Beach is a gorgeous course with a history unmatched by any other on this continent. However, I can’t help but wonder when the next time a New York course will be awarded the honor of hosting our national championship. We know it won’t be at least for another nine years, hopefully it won’t be much more than that.
One reason why I yearn for another opportunity to see a New York course host a U.S. Open is because of how last year’s will be remembered in the history books. I’m not saying that last year’s Open wasn’t great. I was there for the Monday finish and can tell you as many will attest that there was as much drama down the stretch as any of the classic Opens. The reason why I want another Open is because last year New York got unlucky, and the players got lucky. Imagine how Bethpage Black would have been playing with the dry heat we’ve had this year. Olin Browne said earlier on a telecast that the U.S. Open is the ultimate stress test of a golf tournament. Last year was about as stress-free as a course like Bethpage Black will ever be.
I just watched 60-year-old Tom Watson tee off his first hole with Rory McIlroy, 21 and Ryo Ishikawa, 18. Any one who can’t understand why this game is so great needs to think about that phenomenon and reconsider.