I understand why sports fans become attached to the home team, even when 90 percent of the athletes have no local connection. As Jerry Seinfeld said, "We root for laundry,'' but the laundry becomes so familiar that we become emotionally attached.
I have no idea why people would become similarly attached to a golf course. Back in 1970, the U.S. Open was brought to Hazeltine National far too early in the golf course's existence. The players ridiculed it as a corn field spoiled by the drilling of 18 holes.
The feelings of the U.S. Golf Association and the Hazeltine powers-that-be were hurt, but I don't recall a great angst within the public -- or a need to come to Hazeltine's defense.
As it turned out, Dave Hill and the rest of the critics were right, and Hazeltine underwent major changes before the USGA considered bringing back the Open. The USGA even required a test run -- the 1983 Senior Open -- before Hazeltine landed a very successful second Open in 1991.
The folks in the Pacific Northwest (including e-mailers and Twitter responders) seemed to be much more defensive when I started ripping on Chambers Bay as a tricked-up mess after a watching a few hours of first-round nonsense last Thursday,
Why the emotional attachment to a golf course -- scenic and nonsensical -- for people who had nothing to do with the decision to build Chambers Bay?
Defend Russell Wilson for blowing a second straight Super Bowl title with that interception, OK, but a completely homemade golf course that had nothing to do with the Pacific Northwest's reputation ... I don't get it.
I did enjoy getting this e-mail from a Tacoma-area businessman who happened to listen to a radio podcast in which I was ranting against Chambers Bay as a worthy host for the U.S. Open. (Be sure to check out the link at the bottom, of a Chambers Bay-smooching local TV guy):
"You guys couldn’t be more spot on in criticizing Chambers Bay. I live 40 minutes from there and a group from our club (beautiful Rainier Golf & Country Club) think it’s pretty much a goat track.
"We went out a few times a while ago, but it was in such bad shape -- a tough walk with many holes a joke -- that we gave up.
"The thing that sums it all up is none of us ever think about going to play it for $75 or $100 in the winter. I guarantee I’d pay that to play Hazeltine or Pebble or other US Open courses that close to my house.
"Until the poa came in, the greens were mostly sparse fescue and rolled dirt and there were always a few that weren’t being played. Just a joke. Even more of a joke once you’ve been to Bandon Dunes in Oregon and see what real links courses are like.
"I went to the Monday practice round. The best thing about it was leaving. It was 90 degrees, no shade, no wind and no golf that was actually visible. Worst spectator experience ever. The air conditioning in the merchandise tent was the highlight.
"The local USGA turf guy who comes to our club annually lost all credibility when he said 'the greens rolled like a billiards table.'
"If you really want to vomit, watch this commentary by the local Fox sports anchor sucking up to Chambers Bay.''