They’re immersing themselves in details of the huge major golf tournament near Carmel, Calif., where Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are among the players.
It’s all part of the planning for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said in an interview.
Are they enjoying the California sunshine and festive atmosphere? Sure, McCarthy said. But she also pointed out this is a working trip. She arrived in the area at midweek.
Delegation members are meeting with U.S. Golf Association officials and getting behind-the-scenes tours of the operation as part of the county’s preparation for the county’s turn to tee off with the huge event five years from now, spokesman Hunter George said.
The tournament could draw 60,000 people a day to the county-owned golf course, he added.
Pierce County’s official delegation at the 2010 U.S. Open, one of professional golfing’s signature events, includes McCarthy, George, Deputy County Executive Kevin Phelps, Chambers Bay General Manager Matt Allen and four members of the Sheriff’s Department, George said.
The USGA is hosting them and providing tours of course facilities from a 30,000-square-foot merchandising tent to hospitality arrangements and security operations, he added.
The deputies have been spending a lot of time with the Monterey County Sheriff’s office, learning about security logistics for such a large event, George said.
All but two of the officials’ expenses are being paid by the U.S. Amateur, the tournament to be held at Chambers Bay in August, George said. The money isn’t coming out of the county’s general fund, he stressed. The sheriff’s department is paying expenses for two of its deputies.
Expenses for the majority of the delegation are being covered by the U.S. Amateur with funds derived from corporate donations, hospitality monies, ticket sales and the like, George said.
Former Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg is attending the U.S. open at his own expense, as is Randy Harrison, a special assistant to McCarthy, George said.
Tammy Blount, president and CEO of the Tacoma Regional Convention & Visitor Bureau also is at the tournament. Mike Combs, the City of Tacoma’s facilities director, is there, too, George said.
It’s common for officials from U.S. Open host cities to attend the event years before the championship comes to their cities, George said.
Smaller Future Site Delegations from Pierce County also went to the Open at Bethpage State Park on Long Island, N.Y., last year and at Torrey Pines near San Diego in 2008.
The value in such trips, George said, is in “understanding what a U.S. Open looks like” so those who make the plans in Pierce County know what to expect and so they can build relationships with USGA officials long before the engourage gets to town.