Local economy reaps rewards of U.S. Open visit


The merchandise tent at the U.S. Open was so full of stuff last Monday, it was hard to imagine they'd come close to selling it all.

"We definitely exceeded that," said Mary Lopuszynski, USGA director of merchandise. "It was far beyond our expectations. We had to replenish product every day last week. We probably brought in about 80,000 pieces of merchandise overnight during the week to keep up with the demand."

On Saturday, when temperatures topped 80 degrees, they sold out of hats. On Sunday in the fog it was jackets and sweatshirts. "Outerwear was flying out of here on Sunday," Lopuszynski said.

It was quadruple what they sell at a normal U.S. Open, and on Monday, until the doors closed at 5 p.m., everything was half off.

'It's stuff that maybe I don't need. I didn't know that I needed until I came in here, and now I need it," said customer Bob Swall of San Bruno.

All the tents are coming down this week. Monday, USGA guests were invited to play the course. The Olympic Club says the course will be open to members on Friday.

By all accounts, a lot of people made the trek from the Olympic Club over to nearly Westlake watering holes and restaurants. At Joe's of Westlake, tournament spectators and even some of the players stopped by. The usually busy bar was packed. "The evening rush exceeded our expectations," said manger Rick Lynch. "It was quite a large group. It seemed like a lot of people were having fun."

John Peterson hit a hole-in-one on Saturday, and afterwards he stopped in at Joe's. Tradition has it that after a hole-in-one you're obligated to buy a round for everyone in the clubhouse, but this time they cut him some slack.

Across John Daly Blvd. at Burgermeister, owner Paul Mogannam can't wait for the U.S. Open to come back. "We were packed all day non-stop Friday through Sunday," he said. "It was just amazing, it really was."

The USGA is estimating the financial impact of the U.S. Open at somewhere between $140 million and $170 million. An independent study done after the 2008 U.S. Open in San Diego found the tournament contributed $73 million in direct spending to the local economy.

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