My Tale from "Bethpage Brown"

  • The Arena
  • Matt Dollinger
  • June 22, 2009, 5:33 PM

It’s hard to motivate yourself to get out of bed when it’s 5:30 in the morning and the weatherman has called for rain all day.

Luckily, I had a little adrenaline flowing through my veins to give me the extra push I needed this past Sunday morning: a ticket to the 2009 U.S. Open Championship!

I made the long trek to Bethpage State Park (in Farmingdale, NY) just in time to be greeted by a three-hour rain delay. Not a good start.

My goal was to see Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson up close – both of which I accomplished. But it sure wasn’t easy.

And while the players struggled with the course all week long, it wasn’t any easier on the spectators.

I had to compete with 50,000 people to get a glimpse of my favorite golfers. There was also an incredible amount of rope keeping me from where I wanted to go. But nothing, NOTHING, proved as challenging as Bethpage’s most intimidating feature…


Thanks to weeks of rain and thousands of people trampling the course, there was mud everywhere you walked. After a while, you just had to give up. There was no avoiding it. At the beginning of the day, I was wearing white Nikes and blue jeans. By the end of it, I was wearing more brown than Brady Quinn.

Now that the U.S. Open has ended – with Lucas Glover surprising everyone and taking home the title – I can safely say the only thing muddier than my clothes were my predictions. In addition to thinking Tiger would be the Open’s champion (he finished tied for sixth), I predicted five other golfers that could challenge him for the title. Here’s how (poorly) I fared:

Jim Furyk (tied for 33rd)
Angel Cabrera (tied for 54th)
Paul Casey (missed the cut)
Padraig Harrington (missed the cut)
Justin Leonard (missed the cut)

Looks like I’ll stick to ranking two-timers.



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