So now we know the United States Golf Association is the Marie Antoinette of ruling bodies.
Marie had this to say about the starving poor: "Let them eat cake." The USGA had this to say about doused U.S. Open fans: "You saw enough."
This after play in the first round was suspended by torrential rain at 10:15 a.m. Thursday, leaving the USGA to initially tell spectators holding first-round tickets that they couldn't come back to watch the rest of the round on Friday. And no refunds, either.
Hammered by virtually everyone for this dimwitted display of kicking fans in the teeth, the USGA relented Friday, saying that if play extends to Monday, holders of first-round tickets would be honored. Either that, or they could get a 50 percent refund.
"I commend the USGA for stepping up to the tee and doing right by their fans," New York state attorney general Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
Um ... no, not really.
I mean, seriously. A 50 percent refund?
Nothing but a full refund would be doing right by the fans, considering some of them had barely arrived by the time play was suspended. Seventy-eight golfers hadn't even teed off. No one finished more than 12 holes in slightly more than three hours of play.
But the USGA seems to think it's being magnanimous because, get this, suspending play at 10:16 a.m. fits its general interpretation of a full day's play. The British Open, officials pointed out, counts two hours a full day.
To which I can only say: What a bunch of tightwads.
The problem here is the way the USGA distributes tickets, which is frankly idiotic. Rather than selling tickets by the round, which is how anyone with half a brain would do it, the USGA does it by the day. The reasoning is the golf course can only accommodate so many fans per day, and it would be overloaded if you let ticketholders for both the first and second rounds on the course at once.
This, of course, assumes everyone who was there Thursday would have stuck around for Friday, a shaky assumption to say the least. If you were taking off work Thursday specifically because you had tickets for that day only, you couldn't stick around for Friday. So the likelihood of a flood of Thursday spectators coming back Friday seems unlikely.
Thus, a full refund is the only fair way to go for those fans. Especially in this economy.