You don't have to be a golfer to appreciate the big deal finalized Monday at San Diego's city hall -- the 2021 United States Open golf tournament.
The 2008 rendition of the major championship hosted at the Torrey Pines became huge economic engine, with a regional impact approaching $150 million -- roughly a third of what financial experts say recent Super Bowls have generated.
Television coverage reached 173 countries.
On-course attendance approached 300,000 spectators over the five-day tournament run ending in Tiger Woods' dramatic, 19-hole playoff victory over Rocco Mediate.
Area hotels hotel racked up 75,000 "room nights".
Hoteliers say Torrey Pines’ South Course, revamped a decade ago, is a worldwide magnet for golfers -- and a worthy fit for yet another U.S. Open.
“As you know, this is the Super Bowl of golf,” Hyatt La Jolla Torrey Pines general manager Patrick Duffy told the City Council Monday afternoon. “The exposure for San Diego is awesome … playing Torrey Pines is a bucket list item for many golfers."
And, before Council members unanimously approved a contract with the United States Golf Association, they heard from attorney Jeff Baglio, a member of San Diego’s U.S. Open Committee in 2008.
"We have made, and continue to solidify, our reputation as one of the top big-event cities in the world,” Baglio said, “by hosting and supporting major engagements like a U.S. Open."
Now come seven long years of planning, prepping, and promoting.
Recruiting and training a corps of 6,000 volunteers.
And many questions abound – such as: Will Tiger Woods be back, at the age of 45?
He's always a big draw for spectators.
"We know how great the golf course is going to be, the weather's going to be, the fans are going to be,” says Tod Leonard, U-T San Diego’s golf beat writer. “You never know how the actual championship's going to turn out. But that's the fun part, too."
Golfers interviewed Monday at Torrey Pines had nothing but enthusiasm to share, never mind grumbles six years ago over much of the North Course being taken out of play for months while serving as a staging area.
"It seems like good publicity for San Diego, good money for San Diego, and the players like coming here from what I can tell,” said Jeff Dusek. "Any TV coverage at Torrey Pines just screams out 'Come here and play! Come enjoy this!'."
Added Garrett D’Aigle: “The exposure we’re going to getting, with the panning of the camera, the cliffs, the ocean is just worth $200 million, $300 million-plus.”
And a big plus for city taxpayers?
The tournament's projected payoff to the municipal treasury – upwards of $4 million – is quite an improvement over the nearly $2 million setback in in 2008.