For the first time in golf history, the men’s and women’s US Open Tournaments will be played back-to-back in the same location. That location? Pinehurst, North Carolina. Specifically, Pinehurst No. 2. This is a huge “get” for the Moore County golf mecca and one that will pour millions into the economy and highlight the area for 15+ days in June. The 2005 men’s US Open netted $125 million for our state, so one can only imagine the economic impact two tourneys will have.
And perhaps one can also imagine the impact the two tournaments will have on WRAL News! Our planning began months ago and our coverage will touch everyone in the station in some way. The Men’s and Women’s US Open Championships are not just a sporting event. In fact, even though the tourneys attract some of the best golfers from around the world, people will be talking about the US Open “experience” for years to come. And if they can’t be there in person, we want them to “experience” the Opens through WRAL.
It takes a lot of people and a lot of planning to cover an event of this scope. In addition to live coverage in every newscast we produce over fifteen days, we’ll also air two half-hour specials and eight sports briefs following the 11PM news. We learned from past Open coverage that commuting to and from Pinehurst can take a toll on our employees. So last fall, Diane Richardson and I met with a realtor and leased two houses that back up to Pinehurst No. 1. Multiple trips to Sam’s and Costco have netted enough supplies to support each household for fifteen days. And we leased two golf carts for each house so crews can transport themselves and gear to and from the course and the media center. Traffic will be one of the major areas of coverage for us to share with our viewers and we didn’t want our own people caught up in it.
Speaking of our crews … we credentialed almost 40 people from news, sports, online, and engineering. Tony Gupton will take the technical lead and set up the WRAL Pinehurst Bureau for the run of the tournaments. Two live trucks, the WRAL HD mobile trailer, and a tent will be the nerve center for reporters, photographers, and producers. And if I know Tony, he will have thought of and prepared for anything that may throw a kink in our coverage. Because for something we are devoting this much money, time, people, and effort to, failure is not an option.
So when you see our reports from Pinehurst starting on June 9, perhaps you’ll have a better understanding of all that goes into the planning and execution of covering an event of this size, duration, and importance. We will deliver the US Open experience to our viewers as only WRAL can. That’s our mindset every day and especially for two weeks in June.
Thanks to WRAL-TV’s Leesa Moore for this capcom story.