The Forecaddie: USGA steps up to get spectator bridge built for 2018 U.S. Open

The U.S. Golf Association is all about building bridges in the world of golf. Now they’re doing it literally.

The Forecaddie hears that the USGA has stepped in to cover the cost of constructing a spectator bridge for fans crossing a busy highway outside Shinnecock Hills at next June’s U.S. Open. Suffolk County officials told Newsday that the USGA’s offer saves them $1.5 million.

The bridge over County Road 39 measures just 210 feet. TMOF’s numbers acumen calculates that at an impressive $7,142.85 per foot.

In past Opens at Shinnecock Hills, the cost had been covered by county taxpayers. Of course, back when Ray Floyd won in 1986 that bridge cost just $80,000. For the 1995 and 2004 Opens it was $200,000. Newsday reported in August that public works officials had budgeted $1.5 million to build a bridge that would be used for just a week, which led to the USGA’s offer.

“Obviously, the county was interested in having the Open out here and it was something we had to do to make it happen,” Gil Anderson, Suffolk public works commissioner, told the newspaper. “But they seem to understand the cost of building another bridge was high and they were open to building it themselves.”

The county will come out ahead in the final accounting. Local officials estimate the Open will generate a $120-$130 million for the local economy, and up to 4,000 temporary jobs. Some of them presumably for workers building a very expensive walkway.

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