EDINA, Minn. -- Obviously, there was no need for hesitation.
U.S. Golf Association executive director David Fay nearly jumped out of his chair with glee Wednesday when asked about the success of the U.S. Open experiment earlier this month at Torrey Pines, where tee times were pushed back so that the NBC broadcast would be beamed into homes during prime time on the East Coast.
Fans can absolutely expect to see more of the same in future years when the event is played along the Pacific Coast. In fact, he gushed so profusely, I only half-jokingly asked whether the USGA had installed lights for next year's Open at Bethpage Black in New York, so it could be broadcast at night, too.
"I think it was great not just for the U.S. Open, it was great for the game of golf because golf is a prime-time sport," Fay said. "It was a big-time, prime-time sport. And the reaction that I've heard from people, and you all must have been hearing it too, from people back in the east saying, 'this is fantastic.'
"It was late, but it wasn't that late. It's not like World Series game or some playoff games where they're ending around midnight. And I think the discussions that we have had with NBC, they're of course elated with what the numbers produced. And I believe that going forward it would make sense to have the same type of broadcast window when we're at Pebble Beach (2010), when we're at Olympic Club (2012), when we're at Chambers Bay (2015). So why not?"
Well, for one, it caused a significant dropoff in coverage from media outlets on the East Coast and Europe, which in some instances could not get results into the morning paper. Several Eastern dailies, including the major papers in Miami and Atlanta, didn't staff the Torrey Pines event at all. It's a tradeoff of sorts, he acknowledged.
"But the main thing is, golf was a prime-time, big-league sport by having that broadcast window, in my opinion," he said.
Apparently, thanks to a perfect storm of a contending Tiger Woods and a dramatic course backdrop in San Diego, the folks with the remote controls have seconded that opinion.