Day One of the 2009 U.S. Open from Bethpage Black Public Golf Course in Farmingdale, New York saw only half the field take to the course before calling the first day of play at 10:16 a.m.
Defending Champion and three-time U.S. Open winner, Tiger Woods only played 6 holes before walking off the course after sticking a tee into the 7th green, where he will eventually have a testy par putt. Phil Mickelson, the overwhelming favorite among the gallery, did not even make it to the course. He was scheduled to tee off in the afternoon, but that would not happen.
The golf fans that made the trip and walked through the awful conditions on this rainy Thursday were not informed of this until many had paid for a beer or a hot dog from the overpriced vendors. After they were informed with the disappointment of a rain-shortened day, they received even more bad news: their Thursday tickets would not be good for Friday.
The USGA posted on their website the following statement:
"Thursday tickets will not be refunded or exchanged. Play will resume Friday at 7:30 a.m., weather permitting. Only Friday tickets will be accepted."
There is also another statement which mentions that once a round has begun, the tickets are no good. Now, if it was 3 or 4 p.m. and it starts to rain to the point where the afternoon golfers will have to finish early on Friday morning, then Thursday tickets should not be accepted. However, this was a day of golf called at 10:16 a.m. ET.
This may be the worst decision in recent memory in regards to rain policies. Let's look at the facts: Half the field didn't even tee off, of those that did play, the farthest anyone got was 11 holes, and many tickets cost at least $100.
For those who have never attended a Golf event, the main idea is to either stay in one location and wait to see certain golfers come through, or follow one group, probably containing one's favorite golfer. Many who attended Thursday, or plan on attending in the next three days are there for their own personal choice, but this one thing is certain; they are there to see Tiger and Phil.
Woods is attempting to win his fourth U.S. Open and get his fifteenth career major victory, which would put him three shy of tying Jack Nicklaus's record of 18. Mickelson is just attempting to finally focus on something other than a hospital bed and the thought of watching his wife battle breast cancer. Both will be heavy favorites among the spectators that stand, sit, clap and cheer for them, and will do so for those exact reasons just mentioned.
Now, the Thursday hopefuls wishing to extend a warm applause for Phil, or shout "Get in the hole!", for Woods as he putts will have to do so from home. They will not get any money back nor a second chance to accomplish either of those tasks. They just get to think about spending money to watch rain fall onto an empty golf course.
Imagine being a child dreaming of watching Tiger Woods tee off 18, or applaud Phil Mickelson, even though you do not truly understand the significance of the clapping. Imagine being a parent who may have saved up, or worked an extra shift to take their child to a U.S. Open. Now, they cannot get any satisfaction out of ticket that could have meant so much.
The USGA should be thoroughly embarrassedand should make a public apology, both on their website and on ESPN, to all fans who were jipped out of their right to watch a round of golf. They should be so lucky to have people coming out to watch the grass grow and the rain pour. That's how much people love the game and the golfers that play it! They'll literally get soaked and could catch a cold just to watch half the field play half a round.
In this economy, where money is so tight, the USGA should be doing everything they can to accommodate the fans who spent a cent on their event. Once again, the American people have been robbed.