'The people's course': Years of planning before 2021 US Open came to Torrey Pines

Shane Lowry
Posted at 12:32 PM, Jun 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-17 15:32:32-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — For the team at Torrey Pines golf course, the U.S. Open was no easy event to welcome to town.

"The U.S. Open is probably the most prestigious golf tournament in the world," said Scott Bentley, with City of San Diego Parks and Rec. "We've been waiting for this since 2014 when we got the contract signed and heard they were coming. It's hard to believe it's here."

Actually, the U.S. Open has been in San Diego for a long time. There's so much prep work to be done that the U.S. Golf Association literally had someone pack up and move to San Diego to oversee it. His name is Bryan Magee.

"I personally moved here in September of 2019, so I've been here almost two years and I won't leave until August after we clean all the grandstands up and put everything back the way we found it," said Magee.

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Magee has helped run U.S. Opens at some of golf's most prestigious courses. But he points out that Torrey Pines is different. Most championships are at privately owned courses. Torrey Pines is owned by the city, a true public treasure.

"Torrey Pines is known as the people's course here in San Diego. Everyone comes out. Residents get a discounted rate versus those coming from out of town. It's really a unique situation to be at a municipal golf course," Magee said.

Some San Diegans got a rare opportunity prior to the event, the chance to play under true U.S. Open conditions, longer, faster greens, and thicker rough.

"Any time San Diego can have an event like this, it brings a lot of joy," said San Diegan Misty Flannery.

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"This is as close as you can get to us conditions. We'll see how we walk out there and limp in," Lauro Garcia added.

"It tests every single aspect of your game. That's what makes Torrey Pines unique and U.S. Open championships unique, as well," Magee said.

It's also what makes Torrey Pines and the U.S. Open a perfect match.

"There are a lot of changes that are made to prepare for a U.S. Open, but Torrey Pines in itself is a beast of a golf course and will be difficult no matter what day you come out here," Magee added.