Tiger Woods has called the U.S. Open ''the most difficult national championship.'' With Open, John Feinstein goes behind the scenes to tell for the first time the full story of how the 2002 U.S. Open Championship came into being-how a public course was transformed into one of the most difficult and surprising in the tournament's history, and how the greatest golfers in the world rose to its almost insurmountable challenges. The Black course at the public golf club in Bethpage, New York, has long had a mythic status among golfers. Designed by legendary course architect A. W. Tillinghast in 1936, it is known as a work of genius-with long fairways, gorgeous vistas, and roughs and bunkers that stymie all but the very best golfers. It is a course where any player can compete, but its cult reputation means that golfers often have to camp overnight in the parking lot to get a tee time the next day. The 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black was the first time in history that golf's greatest championship had been held at a true public course. Open is the full drama of that championship, from the moment that officials first considered holding it there until the last putt rolled in at dusk on Sunday. Along the way, John Feinstein reveals the full glory of golf as it's never been explored before. He digs deep to find out what it really takes to make golf's most famous event worthy of the champions who compete in it. He tells the remarkable story of the artisans who transformed the Black from a downtrodden and rough-around-the-edges public course to one that top pros hailed as ''unbelievable'' and ''the toughest par-70 I've ever played in my life.'' He also tracks the drama of the masters who battled for supremacy at the Black-Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Nick Faldo, Phil Mickelson, Jeff Maggert-to show how true champions respond to the toughest conditions. Open is the story of people who devote their entire lives to golf, both behind the scenes and inside the ropes. Their struggles and exhilarations as they master the monster known as Bethpage Black make for a story every golf lover will want to read again and again.