Though golf is far from whatever its new normal is going to look like, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in June is going to feel like it’s being played at Cameron Indoor Stadium compared to last year’s major in California. The USGA announced on Monday that a limited number of fans would be admitted to both the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines (in San Diego) as well as the U.S. Women’s Open at Olympic Club (in San Francisco). Both events will be played in June.
On the men’s side, this will mark three straight major championships with at least some fans. This is even more significant for the U.S. Open, for a few reasons. There were no fans in attendance at Winged Foot in September when Bryson DeChambeau beat Matthew Wolff, and there were also no fans at the PGA Championship in California — which has been notoriously stringent on its pandemic regulations over the past year — last August when Collin Morikawa claimed his first major.
There were rumblings that this year’s U.S. Open in San Diego might also be fan-free, but it appears that everyone is moving forward with a plan for fans to attend. The Masters hosted its 85th edition at Augusta National in April with patrons on the property, and the PGA Championship is expecting up to 10,000 folks per round at Kiawah in May. There is no word yet on whether the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s in July will have fans in attendance.
“Last year, we missed the energy that fans bring to our U.S. Open championships,” said USGA senior managing director John Bodenhamer. “We are grateful to our local and state health and safety officials in California to be in a position to welcome some fans back this year to witness the greatest players in the world contending for these prestigious championships, while working to maintain the health and safety of all involved.”
Interestingly, both the men’s and women’s events will require all out-of-state attendees to show proof that vaccination against COVID-19 has occurred at least 14 days prior to the championship. In-state attendees must show either proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
While it is unknown just how many folks will be allowed into either U.S. Open, this will certainly provide some good background and depth to these championships. I was at the patron-less Masters in November as well as the Masters with limited numbers in April, and there was a world of difference. It doesn’t seem like a few thousand folks could possibly provide that much more energy than not having anyone at all out there, but there is a chasm between the two experiences. And if that’s true of me, then it’s almost certainly that much more true for actual participants in the tournaments.
The 121st U.S. Open returns to Torrey Pines for the first time since Tiger Woods won there dramatically in 2008 in a playoff over Rocco Mediate. Torrey is the seventh course to get two (or more) U.S. Opens this century. The U.S. Women’s Open will be played at Olympic for the first time ever.
Original article from CBS