The closure of a portion of the 405 Freeway near Riviera Country Club this weekend, an event the media have labeled "Jamzilla," could result in a monstrous mess for the Northern Trust Open golf tournament.
The PGA Tour event runs Thursday through Sunday, and though the closure of northbound ramps and lanes won't begin until around 7 p.m. Friday (according to the California Department of Transportation website), traffic around Riviera during this event is usually jammed, even without any freeway lane closures.
Mike Bone, tournament general manager, was asked if tournament officials or the PGA had been sought for feedback by Caltrans or other project officials on the construction dates.
"No," he said.
Bone said his group started hearing rumors about the closure "about six to eight weeks ago."
He said he understood that crews needed to take advantage of the three-day holiday weekend that allowed additional work time with less traffic intrusion. He added that Riviera and PGA tour officials have used social media to alert ticket buyers and said that a good alternative to getting to the tournament is by riding Santa Monica blue buses, departing from the courthouse in the city's downtown.
"Extra buses have been put on," he said.
Changes at top
The Northern Trust is in the midst of leadership changes.
Basketball legend Jerry West, who came on as executive director in 2010, has stepped aside. Bone, who runs a sports marketing business in Claremont and who came on board with West, will step aside after this tournament.
"I think Jerry feels like he has done what he could," Bone said, "and now he is looking to cut back on a few things.
"I feel that he brought the tournament back to relevance in Los Angeles."
West has been replaced as executive director by O.D. Vincent, former golf coach at UCLA, who most recently was senior associate athletic director at the University of Washington.
Watson picks Floyd
This year's Ryder Cup captain, Tom Watson, was at Riviera on Tuesday and used the occasion to announce his choice of Raymond Floyd as his vice captain.
The U.S. will play the Europeans at Gleneagles in Scotland on Sept. 26-28.
Floyd was captain of the Ryder Cup team in 1989 and was on seven winning U.S. teams in the eight times he played. The last time the U.S. won the Ryder Cup on foreign soil was 1993. Watson was the captain that year and his at-large pick was Floyd.