The end of the US Open means the end to Tulsa's role as host to the golf world. Despite a thunderstorm and Oklahoma humidity, most out-of-towners say they enjoyed their stay.
KOTV's Sean Mossman visited with US Open fans as they left Tulsa Monday evening at Tulsa's International Airport. Many of these folks heading for their planes were scheduled to leave a day earlier. They were treated to an extra day of golf and more hospitality from our very receptive city. 35,000 fans per day filed through the gates at the US Open. They brought plenty of cash with them.
The Tulsa Chamber of Commerce estimated the impact on the city would be worth about $60 million. Now, Suzanne Stewart with the Tulsa Chamber says they're rethinking that figure. "I think that's a little low. I think we may break that. I'm not sure by how much, but I wouldn't be surprised if we hit 70." Stewart says the impact on Tulsa's economy should reach well beyond this week. Many outsiders incorrectly perceived Tulsa as a slow cow town. A nationally televised week's worth of beautiful sceneries and views may change that. "I'd have to say it's worth millions of dollars. We could not have paid for the kind of advertising and the kind of coverage that we have received in the last week." Tulsan Rafael Laurentin agrees. He's watched the national coverage his city's receiving. "I don't think alot of people knew Tulsa before this week." "I think the perception of people coming to Tulsa is gonna be a lot better than it was before." Tulsa's hotels and restaurants were only more than happy to greet the throngs of tourists this week.
While some complained that the waits at some of those eateries were sometimes long, many say they're happy with the service they received. Including one woman from Houston, Kelly Zajac, who says she's sure many of our city's guests will make a return trip. "I've visited here before and I love it, but I have to say that the Open was amazing. The people were friendly and it was a lot of fun. We have a lot of big things in Houston and the service here doesn't compare. It was great." And, there may be an opportunity to host golf fans again.
There's currently no host for the 2007 PGA Championship, a tournament Southern Hills has hosted before. The Chamber of Commerce says they are preparing to help Southern Hills put together another package to try and lure that tournament here again.