The tournament director for the 2004 Ryder Cup buzzed around Oakland Hills Country Club in a golf cart Tuesday, carrying a list of things to do.
One moment, Odenbach checked on the status of new roads being constructed around the perimeter of the course. The next, he gave tours of temporary corporate tents in the parking lot.
'Tent' isn't exactly the right word; these decorated structures contain plasma television screens and staffed bars. All 58 of the top-tier chalets, which can entertain up to 100 people, have been sold to corporations for as much as $350,000.
The rich, however, will not be alone in the daily crowd of 45,000 attending one of golf's premier events.
More than 100,000 people have entered a random drawing for daily and weekly tickets. The drawing will be held Sept. 30 and ticket-holders will be notified two weeks later.
'Having daily tickets available is going to allow anyone to attend this event,' Odenbach said. 'The people that applied for tickets will have a one-in-five chance of winning tickets, but that's better than no chance for some people because daily tickets were not sold for the Ryder Cup in 1999 or 2002.'
Heavy equipment has been moving over the course for months to create new roads, cart paths and areas for cable and water to be transported. Letters have been sent to 3,500 volunteers, all of whom will be subject to background checks as will all vendors.
'We're trying to get as much done before the winter,' Odenbach said.
In June, Odenbach and others will have to focus on building 300,000 square feet of temporary buildings.
Subtle changes will be made to the course dubbed 'The Monster' by Ben Hogan, who won the 1951 U.S. Open at Oakland Hills. The storied venue has hosted six U.S. Opens, two PGA championships, two U.S. Senior Opens and last year's U.S. Amateur.
Eight fairways will be narrowed to bring more bunkers into play, and No. 6, a par-4, will be shortened about 15 yards, to 315, giving players an opportunity to drive the green.
'I don't want to beat the Europeans on course setup,' U.S. captain Hal Sutton has said. 'I want to beat them with sterling play.'
Europe has won or retained the Ryder Cup in six of the last nine matches. Last year at The Belfry in England, Europe won by three points - the largest margin in 17 years.
Sutton, who has competed in four Ryder Cups including last year's, said he would not be a captain-player if he made the team in 2004.
Bernhard Langer said last month he would consider giving up his spot as captain of the European team if it looked as though he could make the squad as a player.
'I think the most important thing is that we have the 12 best players on the course against the Americans,' said Langer, a two-time Masters champion.
The Ryder Cup will be the first of five major sporting events the Detroit area will host over a six-year period.
'This area has done a phenomenal job of getting these huge events to come,' Odenbach said. 'We'll be the first to test the waters, and we're excited because the red carpet is ready to be rolled out to show the world that Detroit is a great city for an event.'
Odenbach was told recently that the Farmer's Almanac predicts a 68 percent chance of rain during the 2004 Ryder Cup.
'It's the only thing we can't control, but I'm betting on the 32 percent,' Odenbach said on a picture-perfect day in the 70s. 'I'll take six days like this.'
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