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Frank Sinatra made a hit record off the Big Apple. Its a constant theme song after Yankee games. “If you can make here, you can make it anywhere,” was never more true that when its applied to New York.
Golf is center stage this week with the USGA’s US Open at Bethpage Black. TaylorMade, Callaway, Titleist, Ping, Nike, Cleveland as well as anyone and nearly everyone inside the golf industry are in attendance. With Tiger Woods’ improbable performance last year on the left coast at Torrey Pines, it sets the stage for another dramatic Open. One of the elements that players will have to contend with is none other than the fans themselves. New Yorkers are a unique breed. “ If they don't like you, they can really get on to you and drive you crazy; and if they like you, that energy, that vibe there will help you play better. They are definitely very boisterous up here,” said Kenny Perry.
“I really had a great time in 2002,” added Padraig Harrington. “Obviously I played well, and that might help me have a great time. But the crowds -- I generally have played very well in boisterous crowds. I like the idea. The more noise around the golf course, the better for me,” he continued. “It adds a buzz to the event when there's an ambient noise reverberating around the golf course, cheers and everything like that. It just makes it more exciting. And it's nice to play in that atmosphere.”
Tiger Woods recalled the crowds in 2002. “I've never played in front of an atmosphere that loud for all 18 holes. Phoenix has one hole or a couple of holes,” he said. “The energy that was out here, it's just phenomenal. We've never seen anything like it. It wasn't just the four rounds that we competed in. It was even the practice rounds,” he continued. “Monday was loud. It was like 40,000 people out here on a Monday. It was just electric the entire week. And even when it was raining the people were out there cheering and having a great time, tipping back a couple. But it was just an atmosphere that if you're playing well, you feel like you could keep it rolling; if you weren't playing well, people were cheering so hard for you to turn it around. It was just a great crowd to play in front of.”
No matter who comes out on top this week, its a safe bet the fans of New York will leave another lasting memory with the players and the television audience too.