An SGS Spotlight on the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage

With the U.S. Open return to Torrey Pines, and a possible end to this era of the championship going to publicly owned venues, this Spotlight episode focuses on the one that ushered in that great muni experiment. Andy and Brendan dive into the story of how David Fay got the Open to Bethpage, the Rees Jones work before 2002, and the groundskeeping overhaul that took place to host the national championship. There is also ample time devoted to the Reestoration, with not exclusively glowing words for “The Open Doctor.” Then they get into some complaints on setup, including one hole where 15 players in a row failed to carry their drives to the fairway. There are segments dedicated to the rowdy crowds and of course, the main characters — Jeff Maggert’s wardrobe, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Sergio Garcia. This may be the week the public perception of waggling Sergio really changed, and they go over the contretemps that had him leaving an apology note in Tiger’s locker the night before they played in the final round’s final pairing. There is, of course, time dedicated to this particular run of Tiger dominance, and the impacts incoming equipment evolutions might have had on that. Thanks to the U.S. Open Victory Club (join that here) for supporting this Spotlight work and making these episodes possible.