Archive

ShareThis Page
Oakmont, USGA staff rise to U.S. Open challenges | TribLIVE.com
Golf

Oakmont, USGA staff rise to U.S. Open challenges

Bob Cohn
| Sunday, June 19, 2016 8:45 p.m
ptropenweb110062016
Guy Wathen | Tribune-Review
The crowd cheers on No. 18 as Dustin Johnson's ball lands on the green during the final round of the U.S. Open on Sunday, June 19, 2016, at Oakmont Country Club.
PTROPEN701062016
Justin Merriman | Tribune Review
Spectators arrive on the final day of play at the U.S. Open on Sunday, June 19, 2016, at Oakmont Country Club.
PTROPEN700062016
Justin Merriman | Tribune Review
A lone spectator awaits the final day of play at the U.S. Open on Sunday, June 19, 2016, at Oakmont Country Club.

The USGA long has expressed its affection for Oakmont Country Club, with the latest valentine arriving Saturday in the form of the 2025 U.S. Open. That will make it Open No. 10, more than any other course.

After some nasty weather, Oakmont got plenty of love last week. Thursday’s freakish rainfall during the first round played havoc with the schedule and skewed the characteristics of the course.

By the weekend, however, all was well and mostly back to normal, aside from some players logging 36 holes Friday.

Saturday and Sunday, the sun was out and so were the fans. The course firmed up to its usual feisty self. The situation looked dire just a few days earlier, but Oakmont pulled through.

“The conditioning of this course is immaculate,” said Charlie Howe, the USGA’s 2016 U.S. Championship Manager. “Even after Thursday when you get nearly four inches of rain, to have it ready for play the next day, it’s unbelievable what those guys did.”

“Those guys” mainly being course superintendent John Zimmers and his crew.

The USGA is quite familiar with Oakmont. That makes it easier to navigate the maze of logistical challenges and make transportation issues more bearable.

No one questions the course’s difficulty or preparation. The chief variable is weather. There were times Thursday no one could be certain what would happen next.

The course-softening, mud-making deluges were only part of the problem. There were side effects, like a busted water line caused by lightning that released additional thousands of gallons of water. Crews worked Thursday into Friday to fix it. Others restored fairways, greens and bunkers to something closer to what they were. Sunlight and heat would take care of the rest.

“I know they didn’t sleep Thursday night, but they were able to get spectators back out here and watch golf and be safe, and have a fantastic setting from the golf course side,” said Howe, who likely knows Oakmont as well as anyone, having moved to the area three years ago to help coordinate the massive operation of staging the Open.

Now that the tournament is over, the three months of construction labor it took to transform the club into a village will be undone.

Howe immediately starts work with Oakmont staff on “restoring the ancillary parts of the golf course,” he said. “Outside of some crosswalks, there’s not much you need to do to get the golf course back to the membership, or back ready to play. Outside the ropes, we work with the club to restore it to how we found it.”

Howe said that will take about 1 12 months, breaking down the village and its nearly 300 tents, 85 office trailers, 12 miles of fencing and other pieces of hardware. The 37,000-square-foot merchandise tent, the largest temporary facility during the Open, will be disassembled into about 500,000 pieces, he said.

“Dismantling happens quicker,” Howe said. “On the other hand, there has to be some organization to it.”

Bob Cohn is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at bcohn@tribweb.com or via Twitter@BCohn_Trib.

Categories: Golf
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.