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Mother Nature Takes Second Place at U.S. Open

Rain-Soaked Weekend Ends with Exciting Monday Finish

People holding tickets to Thursday’s rain shortened day of golf were treated to a great finish on Monday. On Thursday, golf was halted after just over three hours of play with half of the players not even teeing off. Those fans with tickets were granted entrance to Monday’s conclusion to see 29-year-old Lucas Glover take the trophy after finishing 4-under par.

“I am please with how I played,” said a humbled Glover after he won the 109th U.S. Open Championship on Monday. “It was a test of patience today, but the golf course played fantastic.”

Glover and his family love New York — he and his wife honeymooned here and are big NY Yankees fan. “This could not have happened at a better place,” said Glover.

This was Glover’s first major championship win finishing two-strokes ahead of Phil Mickleson, David Duval and Ricky Barnes. Mickelson holds the record for the most second-place finishes in U.S. Open history.

Tiger Woods, who won the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage State Park, finished even this year after a frustrating weekend. Although he didn’t have the same result as he did last time he was here, he said he would like to see the U.S. Open return to Bethpage Black, calling the golf course “great.”

The 2009 U.S. Open, dubbed the “People’s Open” was a battle against Mother Nature as golfers were forced to stop and start golfing to wait out a rain delay and their fans left waiting.

According to Weather Underground, total rainfall for the month, through June 21, is 8.35 inches, which is 6.69 inches above normal and rain fell on 17 of the first 21 days this month.

Bethpage State Park Superintendent Craig Currier and his crew of 60 staffers and 110 volunteers were praised for their hard work to keep the course playable during the enormous amounts of rain that fell over the weekend.

Bringing the open to Long Island took a lot of planning and hard work from many entities. Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said that despite allocating sizable resources to assist the New York State Police at the US Open at Bethpage State Park, the Nassau County Police Department demonstrated its capacity to protect the public it serves during this period.

Precinct patrol officers effected several key arrests of dangerous criminals who posed significant threats over the weekend. “Police work is inherently dangerous,” said Mulvey. “Our officers arrested several dangerous criminals. Their actions confirm the adage that Patrol is the backbone of the Police Department.”

The Long Island Rail Road was up to the challenge of getting fans to the open. From Monday through Sunday, June 15-21, the LIRR provided train service for 78,615 general spectators arriving at the open those days – representing about a third of the Open gate.

The LIRR added extra trains all week long to the LIRR Farmingdale Station so that golf fans from around the world had the option of being able to reach the park without driving. Long Island Bus provided free shuttle service to the park under an arrangement with the USGA.

Throughout the week, the LIRR adjusted its schedule as rain delays impacted when play began and was suspended for the day.

“We have been saying all along that the LIRR is a fast, green and convenient way to get to the U.S. Open and our customers have backed us up with their patronage. We’re delighted to have carried nearly a third of the total gate to the ‘People’s Open’ at Bethpage via public transportation,” said LIRR President and interim MTA Executive Director Helena Williams. “I would like to thank the dedicated employees of the LIRR and Long Island Bus for helping to provide the extra service to Farmingdale in first class fashion. The MTA police also provided critical support, as did officials in the Village of Farmingdale and Nassau County. It has been our pleasure to coordinate all our efforts with the USGA.”

U.S. Open management echoed the LIRR’s sentiments.

“We are thrilled with the train service and that so many people took advantage of this option,” said Robbie Zalzneck, director, U.S. Open Championship Management.

Local businesses also reaped the benefits of the Open as rain delays brought more people to the area.

“The rain was a boon for businesses in Plainview and Old Bethpage as golf fans came to one of the many restaurants and bars to wait out the rain,” Legislator Dave Mejias (D-Farmingdale) said. “La Piazza, The Main Event and others were packed with fans, it was fantastic! The rain created a festive atmosphere as golf fans from around the world took a break from the action to wait out the weather.”