The heavy lifting, Danny Sink concedes, is over.
Sink was the man the United States Golf Association sent out in October of 2012 as the championship director for the 115th United States Open at Chambers Bay – meaning he would largely be responsible for coming up with the outside-the-ropes blueprint for how the national open would operate at a new venue.
Now four weeks away from the start of the championship, Sink is ready for it all to start.
“From a personal level, 30 days out is a unique time for me,” Sink said. “If you think about my role, I was the first one here. I had a hand in everything, no matter how big or small.
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“As we get closer to the championship, the staff has doubled. We have 60 full-time people here working on the championship. The hard part — the decision-making — is what you have to let go. ... It goes from having total control of things to releasing it.”
So what is Sink’s primary responsibilities from now until the week of the U.S. Open?
“Managing the message,” Sink said, “and managing the staff coming in.”
In other words, as far as “managing the message,” Sink has participated in a lot of media interviews over the past few weeks about this national open on this particular links-style property, ranging from local and regional television outlets to national publications.
And with all the new faces of the USGA arriving, Sink provides answers to the same questions he had when he first arrived with his family from San Francisco.
Sink is already thinking about future U.S. Opens. Two weeks ago, he was working onsite at Erin Hills in Wisconsin in preparation for the 2017 U.S. Open. He’ll also be spending time at Pebble Beach Golf Links, the 2019 venue.
“Even with what is going on here,” Sink said, “you have to have a mind for the future.”
Sink said the biggest head-scratching issue to tackle about this U.S. Open since he has been here is constantly responding to wild rumors that Chambers Bay would not be ready — and therefore forfeit the national open to a nearby site.
“It’s just because it is new,” Sink said.
Sink said one the coolest aspects he’s encountered for this championship is the outpouring of public support. Of the volunteers who have signed up, nearly 4,000 of the 5,300 live within 50 miles of the course.
“The volunteer stuff blew us out of the water,” Sink said. “And the media attention we’ve gotten regionally and worldwide was a surprise to us. Things that seem insignificant to us have become a story here.”
Sink said his job at Chambers Bay does not end once the championship finishes up. He will also be part of the restoration of the property, including all the public facets of the course and park. He will also have to make sure the bills are paid — and that hundreds of thank-you notes are written. He will be here through September.
For now, he has a month longer to wait it out.
“I am ready for it to get started,” Sink said. “You work on it for 21/2 years — yeah, I am excited. And, of course, I am nervous. My face is attached to this championship.”