I’m excited about this year’s US Open. I can’t wait to see how Tiger’s knee holds up. And I’m hoping that Phil Mickelson can win our national championship in his home town. I wonder if any of the “young guns” can stir things up.
But mostly, I’m excited because this is the first time the US Open is being held on a course I’ve played.
Last summer, Mrs. GolfBlogger went to a nursing conference in San Diego, and the boys and I tagged along. While she was sitting in meeting rooms, the guys visited Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park, Lego Land and—of course—I took time out to play Torrey Pines.
I had a lot of fun, although to be honest, I found the course somewhat underwhelming. It was not in good shape—lots of dead areas in the fairways—and the views were not what I had imagined them to be. I also didn’t think that—length aside—it was a particularly tough course. The hardest part was getting used to the stuff they call grass. It’s not at all like what grows in the fairways and in the rough in the midwest. If that particular growth appeared on my home course, the greenskeeper would call Michigan State’s turfgrass department to find out what weedkiller to spray on it. (Update: I just heard on the television that it’s called kikuyu and the announcer described it as being like a brillo pad. He’s right)
Perhaps my expectations were too high.
Nonetheless, it was a good experience, and now that the US Open is here, I’m really glad I played. When a player drives into the bunker on seven, I’ll be able to say “Hey! I was there!.” And when someone bails right on the par 3 third, I’ll nod in approval, for that also was my strategy.
I salute the USGA for its decision to hold more championships on public courses. In fact, I think that all future Opens should be held on courses accessible to the public. The US Open is the people’s championship—not the exclusive domain of country clubbers who allow the rest of us only a weeklong glimpse of their preserve.