Southern Hills CC prepares for US Open


Friday, February 23rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


The game of golf is on the top of many Tulsa’s' minds. That's because the U.S. Open is fast approaching.

Pro golfers are making their annual swing through the balmy West Coast right now. Soon, they'll head for Florida for several tournaments. And, before you know it, they'll be in Tulsa for golf's biggest event.

In just more than a hundred days, Tiger, Lefty, and 70,000 friends invade Tulsa. The 101st U.S. Open is this spring and at Southern Hills, the prep-work is heating up. Southern Hills Country Club general manager, Nick Sidorakis says, "You wake up in the middle of the night and say oh my gosh, we've got to do this. I make a lot of notes at night and get up in the morning and try to take care of business when we get here."

With time winding down, the layout of what the Southern Hills Country Club will look like tournament week is basically set. Any changes will be minor. There's room for fans and bleacher seating on all eighteen holes. There will be plenty of amenities for the golfers, including private dining. Of course, ample room for the sale of memorabilia.

A tent the size of three football fields will greet spectators as they walk in the gates. A patch of gravel now will soon be the vendors compound. It's just to the west of the golf course. Just because this is one of the few areas that are near completion doesn't mean that construction is behind schedule. The only other feature near completion is the driveway where fans will be dropped by buses.

Heavy construction will begin in mid-April. Organizers say that's when the tension of a fast approaching tournament may start to ease. U.S. Open manager, Robby Zalzneck says, "I think it's a little easier when you start seeing things go up and you start to see all the hard work you put into it start to take shape."

And when the fans pour in, and the birdies start to fall, then maybe organizers can really catch their breaths. One of the next tasks for organizers is to assign the more than 4,000 volunteers to duties.