Chambers Bay ready to ramp up preparations for 2015 U.S. Open | Local golf notebook
While the event is still more than 1,000 days away, the clock is indeed ticking. Preparations will ratchet up within the next three to six months when the USGA will have a staff member working full-time on site at Chambers Bay.
Seattle Times staff
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On the website for Chambers Bay Golf Course, there is a countdown to the start of the 2015 U.S. Open at the University Place course, right down to the second.
While the event is still more than 1,000 days away, the clock is indeed ticking.
For the past year, the course has been making changes to several holes as requested by the United States Golf Association. The preparations will ratchet up within the next three to six months when the USGA will have a staff member working full-time on site at Chambers Bay.
"For courses where we have had Opens before, we will have staff on site about two years in advance, but we'll be at Chambers Bay about 30 months in advance because it's our first Open there," said Reginald Jones Jr., senior director of U.S. Open Championships.
Chambers Bay was awarded the 2015 Open in 2008, less than a year after the course opened. The USGA has remained steadfast in its commitment to the course.
Chambers Bay has been losing money (more than $4 million from 2009 to 2011), and the plans to build a hotel and clubhouse were derailed by the tough economy. All that matters little to the USGA.
"We can build a temporary clubhouse for the players," Jones said. "We did it at Torrey Pines in 2008. We can build, on a temporary basis, everything we need."
The maximum number of paid fans allowed each day has not been determined, Jones said. But he did say that the crowds at Chambers Bay will be in the midrange for U.S. Opens, which likely would put them close to 33,000 to 35,000.
Jones will oversee all of the logistics of the tournament, including transportation and parking. While Jones knows there isn't great access to the course, which is on Puget Sound south of Tacoma, he didn't sound overly concerned.
"Chambers Bay will by no means be our most difficult site," Jones said. "Parking and transportation are always an issue. But I don't think Chambers Bay is any more difficult than most. Having been in Washington, D.C., last year (at Congressional Country Club) with their traffic, I am not sure it gets worse than that."
Former Washington Husky Troy Kelly moved up 112 spots on the PGA Tour money list to 87th after losing in a playoff in last week's Greenbrier Classic.
Players must finish in the top 125 to automatically retain their tour card.
Kelly has made $740,444, with $630,00 of it coming last week.
Kyle Stanley from Gig Harbor is 18th at $2,093,946; Puyallup's Ryan Moore is 65th at $962,724; and former Husky Richard H. Lee is 164th at $199,553.
• Chambers Bay hired Eric Johnson as its director of agronomy. Johnson, who previously worked at acclaimed Bandon Dunes (Ore.) Golf Club, will oversee the condition of the entire property.