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U.S. Open Monday at Bethpage Black

23 June 2009 No Comment

On Thursday afternoon, when play for the U.S. Open was suspended for most of the day, I started to think about attending U.S. Open regulation play on a Monday. However, it was not until Sunday night, when play was scheduled for 9 am ET Monday morning that I decided to put my Monday day trip to New York City into motion.

Travel Plans
I had a free ticket on Southwest Airlines and flights were available to Long Island arriving at 9:05 am and returning Tuesday morning at 7:45 am.

Rather than take the LIRR as I had done in December, I chose to rent a car through Alamo. By renting a car, I would arrive at Bethpage Black much quicker than taking the train and I would have a lot more freedom driving around New York City. My only concern being where would I park the car at the U.S. Open and overnight at my cousin’s apartment where I would be staying.

Obtaining Tickets
My flight landed about 20 minutes early at 8:45 am. I checked craigslist.org as soon as I landed and saw an ad, posted by a broker, for $20 grounds tickets. I figured I would not beat that price once I arrived (also since I would be arriving about an hour after play began I was not sure how many brokers would still be around) so I bought the ticket. I was told the ticket would be at Will Call.

With my car rented and my ticket purchased, my next concern was where I would park. The “official” U.S. Open parking was at Jones Beach State Park (an approximate 25 minute bus ride to Bethpage Black). Since I was late, I figured I did not have the luxury to take that much time. Thus, I figured there would be some parking around the course at somebody’s house. My assumption was correct and I ended up paying $30 for “easy out” parking.

Obtaining Tickets Part 2
I was not 100% sure if my ticket would be waiting for me at Will Call – and, of course, it was not. Since I did not have my cell phone with me (U.S. Open has metal detectors checking for phones which most tournaments do not have) I could not call the broker to see what happened. Plus, I really did not have time to debate with him. It was 10 am and I needed to get into the course before much more play continued. I ran back to a woman selling a stack of tickets outside the course and paid $15 for my grounds ticket. Luckily she was still around or else I may have been SOL. Even though she was in a much better negotiating position I countered her $25 offer with $10 and we agreed on $15. With my ticket in hand I finally entered Bethpage Black.

Round 4 Continued
I arrived on the course, received a free XM radio head piece to listen to the day’s round and walked most of the course to find Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the two leaders – Lucas Glover and Rickey Barnes. It was clear it had rained over the weekend – everywhere I tried to walk was muddy as most of the spectators would yield to each other to walk on dry ground.

As usual Woods and Mickelson had huge galleries so I chose to follow Glover and Barnes instead. As I approached the 13th hole I decided to sit in the bleachers – I had been walking around most of the morning in the mud pit also known as Bethpage Black.

In the bleachers I met Patrick Sauer – a freelance writer for the Huffington Post and Inc. Magazine. After chuckling over a man accidentally muddying up the shirt of an elderly man, Patrick offered me his extra Lexus Hospitality Pass. The hospitality pass usually includes all you can eat and drink – definitely not something any fan should turn down when given the opportunity.

We headed to the tent immediately and were convinced there would be a playoff with six golfers all within one stroke and only a few holes to play. However, Glover was able to hold off Mickelson, Barnes and David Duval to win the 109th U.S. Open by two strokes becoming only the 6th qualifier in the last 46 years to win.

Without a playoff to keep us entertained for the next several hours we went back to the hospitality tent before they finally shut it down and we were off to the New York Mets game.

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