EDITORIAL: Championships are a big deal
It's been hot this week around here, and in Pinehurst, but if you've been down there to the U.S. Open and were lucky enough to step inside out of the sweltering heat indices, you got cool quickly; there's enough HVAC equipment on and around Pinehurst #2 to keep 1,300 homes comfortable in 90-degree heat.
You may not care about golf and about the fact that the eyes of the sporting world will be in our backyard this week (for the men's United States Open golf championship) and next (for the women's event), but you have to admit — having the spectacle of one of golf's “major” championships, and our national championship to boot, is noteworthy.
Having two of them in back-to-back weeks is extraordinary.
We've been through some of this before, of course, when Pinehurst #2 hosted the U.S. Opens in 1999 and 2005 and when Pine Needles hosted the women's U.S. Opens in 1996, 2001 and 2007. But it's still worth reflecting upon, and considering the full scope of what's required to make it all happen.
For example, according to the United States Golf Association (which governs this event):
There are nearly 23,000 grandstand seats around Pinehurst #2, more than the seating of PNC Arena in Raleigh.
Plan on eating? More than 100,000 of Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs — the quarter-pound size — will be served, along with more than 40,000 hamburgers. Beer will also be popular, with vendors expected to serve more than 350,000 cans of beer — along with 50,000 bottles of water and 75,000 cans of soda.
And if you want to do some shopping, you'll have plenty of opportunity to bring back souvenirs. The main merchandise pavilion at the Open has 39,000 square feet of space. More than a half million pieces of U.S. Open-themed merchandise is for sale (including more than 100,000 hats), and some 130,000 transactions are expected before the week is out.
There are some 600 individual restroom units and 36 of what the USGA is calling “high-end” restroom trailers.
Some 22 megawatts of electricity is powering it all, enough to provide power to 4,500 homes. More than 100,000 feet of Cat5 cable will be used for data and voice transfer, along with 330 telephones.
More than 400,000 square feet of canvas can be found on the grounds, enough to cover seven football fields.
In addition to the hardworking paid staff and the contractors helping to make the event run smoothly, there will be more than 6,000 volunteers working this week and next. Fully three-fourths of them will work both weeks. And even through all 50 states and 12 nations are represented among the volunteer corps, more than 60 percent are from North Carolina and 25 percent are from Moore County.
There will be at least 35 hours of live network coverage of the event on television (on ESPN and NBC) with a huge international broadcast audience.
You get the picture.
Even if you're not going to the event, or tuning in to the broadcast, understand that the picture is pretty big.
We should be proud to be a small part of it.