Course is phone-free zone at U.S. Open
Posted June 15
Updated June 25
Pinehurst, N.C. — Officials with the United States Golf Association want the focus on the course for the men's and women's U.S. Opens at Pinehurst Resort.
The sight of marshals with arms upraised to signal a gallery willed to silence is a familiar one, even to golf fans who only watch on TV. But some who lined up to pass through security at Pinehurst No. 2 got a disappointing surprise: There are no cellphones allowed.
"We tried to get through and couldn't go through with cellphones," said Megan Alexander.
There are several reasons for the phone ban. First and foremost is to reduce distractions for the golfers, who hit with precision under great pressure.
Organizers also want to preserve precious bandwidth for legitimate uses – so that the hundreds of media can communicate stories, video and photos to the world and so that, in the case of emergency, safety crews can talk to each other.
But for fans looking to record the moment, the phone ban is a bummer.
"It's like you've lost an appendage because you're so dependent on it," said Debbie Jenkins.
Suzanne Reynolds said she had hoped to get a photo of golfer Adam Scott. "I don't know what we're going to do, because I'm kind of addicted to mine," she said.
Shane Brewer said he'll miss posting photos to Instagram. "We wont even get to brag," he said.
There are public phones available for those who must make a call, assuming they can remember the number.
"I know my girlfriends number that's about it," said Adam Lenertz.
Fan Frank Czutrynski cast his phone-less state in a positive light.
"You're enjoying this wonderful atmosphere here in Pinehurst, watching these professionals, you don't need to communicate with anybody," he said. "Enjoy the moment."
In the event of emergency, Greg Baker, of the state Department of Public Safety, pointed out that every hole is staffed. Through three days of competition, crews dealt with dehydration, heart attacks and reunited lost children with their parents.