I said a couple of weeks ago I believed some things I read in the papers. I still do, with the emphasis on some. I certainly didn’t believe the comments attributed to a man I respect greatly, Ben Brundred, regarding this subject in yesterday’s Post.
But Ben Brundred Jr., a former Congressional club president and chairman of its U.S. Open committee, said the tour has not contacted the club.
“I think their first step is to talk to a potential sponsor, and if any of those stepped up to the plate, that’s the city where the tournament would go,” Brundred said. “But we haven’t heard word one from anyone, and I guess that’s a little surprising.”
To borrow a well-worn phrase from a former President, I guess that depend on what the meaning of “we” is.
The construction schedule at Avenel (kindly pointed out by Todd in his comments to this post) dictates that the Tour can’t stage an event there until 2009. Period. No discussion. So the most straightforward solution would seem to be to play a Tour event at Congressional in 2007 and in 2008 leading up the Amateur in 2009. That lets the members and the club staff have a year to prepare for the onslaught which will be the US Open in 2011. Which, I shudder to point out, is a mere four years hence.
So will Congressional do it? I’d say its up to the members who, if the past is any indication, will say yes. Because the financial benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.
Sure, the Tour could try to open up a new market on short notice this summer. Kansas City, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and Portland are all fine cities. But with a venue like Congressional waiting, a volunteer organization and tourament staff in place and last year’s messy exit still fresh in the fans’ minds, I’d think those savvy folks in Ponte Vedra are working awfully hard to make this happen.