Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Winged Foot Gives USGA the Boot

This story is a few days old, but I had been celebrating the new year (photo below) so I did not get a chance to blog about it.

Winged Foot members rejected making a bid at the 2015 US Open by a resounding margin.

How about the reasons why? Tim Rosaforte blogs about them.

The members' overriding reason for rejecting the 2015 Open was money, according to sources. It came down to one key difference between the club's deal with the USGA for the '06 Open and the proposal between the two sides for the 2015 Open. Terms for the 2015 Open called for the USGA to pay more up front as a rental fee but for the USGA to take 10 percent more from corporate sales than it did in 2006. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Winged Foot's profit for hosting the 2015 championship would have been about the same as it was for the '06 Open. That was unacceptable to members, who felt the club should profit more from an Open in 2015 than it did in 2006.

The disruption factor also played a role. In 2006 many Winged Foot members were unhappy not only that they lost the use of the club's West course for the championship, but also the East course, which became the site for corporate hospitality, catering and other elements of infrastructure. Although the USGA picked up the tab for all damages that resulted--reportedly in excess $500,000--the East course remained closed until October.
Basically, holding the US Open was not worth it to the Winged Foot membership in terms of money and playing disruptions. It is hard to argue with that rationale. After all, Winged Foot can say that is has hosted its own US Open massacre. They won't have to host another to get the point across that their courses are awfully tough.

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