Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The U.S. Open Media Center

I just returned home from the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. The USGA hired me to handle the scoreboard graphics inside the media center. The media center at a major championship is impressive. It is usually a gigantic temporary structure (think mega-tent) decked out with a large dining hall, a photographers’ lounge, an interview room, and of course the workspace area. It’s located on site, this year being situated on the adjoining North Course at Torrey Pines. Hundreds of journalists and television/radio/internet representatives from around the world are lined up in row after row of desks, all facing my huge scoreboard and several jumbo screen televisions at the front of the room. All of the heavy hitters in golf reporting are there, from the top writers in the country to the famous on-air talent for the networks. If you’re a golf nut, it’s a very cool scene.

The weird thing about my job at the U.S. Open is that I travel all the way from Atlanta to San Diego, proceed inside the Torrey Pines gates, and then basically watch the tournament on TV. What you might find surprising is that most members of the media do the same thing. During the really dramatic moments, several reporters will obviously track down the on-course action so they can see it live, but for the most part, everyone is watching from the comforts of the media center, working on their stories and taking advantage of the resources provided there. That’s a lot of people going to a lot of trouble just to watch golf on TV!

Saturday afternoon in the media center was a blast. As Tiger was doing all the mind-boggling stuff on the back nine that Tiger usually does, all eyes inside the media center were glued to the large screen TVs. There was a two-second delay between the live action and the TV broadcast, so as we watched Tiger’s ball roll toward the hole, we could hear the enormous roar from outside on the course, and would know the result before we actually witnessed it. Nonetheless, all of us in the media center would echo the outdoor response with a huge roar of our own. It gives me goose-bumps just thinking about some of those moments. What Tiger did that afternoon was unbelievable, and will go down as one of the most amazing stretches of golf in championship history. I feel privileged to have been there to experience it (via television).

My next entry will have some post-round quotes from Tiger’s interviews. That’s a huge perk of working in the media center…I get to sit in on the Q and A’s with all of the tournament leaders.

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Anonymous ROCKO! said...

Hey, Casey....why didn't you tell me you were at Torrey???? I was there Monday through Thursday am. Played golf 2 days, ate 3 massive meals, and tooled around the course and media center. Better not happen next time!


July 18, 2008 11:50 AM  
Blogger Casey said...

I'm always at the US Open, Rocko! Why in the heck were you there? Sounds like you had a rough trip.

July 22, 2008 12:12 PM  

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