Wednesday, June 12

Hello, Merion

(© USGA/Darren Carroll)


I'M HERE. I'M EXCITED. OK, SO I'm not actually on the grounds yet, but I will be soon. In fact, I just wrote this in an email to a friend in England: "I'm in Philadelphia for the U.S. Open, and will lay eyes on Merion for the first time in a couple of hours. Excited!"

This is my third consecutive U.S. Open. My first as a credentialed media member was Rory McIlroy's record romp at Congressional in 2011. I was at Olympic last year, and with my book coming out at that time and my association with giant-killer Jack Fleck, I can't imagine anything topping that. If all goes as planned, I'll also be at next year's U.S. Open in Pinehurst, which is only about four hours from my Floyd, Virginia, door.

I consider myself fortunate to be able to attend our national championship. As I was telling my wife the other day, this, in a golf sense, is my annual conference. I don't go to a lot of tournaments. I'm grateful that the USGA has given me a credential. The media tent has opened to bloggers like me, and now I'm a golf author, too.

I drove up from Virginia yesterday and listened to U.S. Open coverage the entire way. I heard most all of the media conferences: Tiger Woods, Adam Scott (recorded), Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald, Steve Stricker and more.

After winning the 1971 U.S. Open at Merion, Lee Trevino said, "I love Merion, and I don't even know her last name." I think all the players I listened to on the way here also want to love Merion, but she hasn't been that easy to get to know, especially with five-plus inches of rain falling on her since last Friday. This will be a very interesting U.S. Open, but they all are, aren't they?

I'm fearful of Thursday's forecast. This Merion doesn't need any more moisture.

I'll be getting my bearings today, getting out on the historic golf course where Jones and Dutra and Hogan and Trevino and Graham have walked and won, finding my way around the not-so-vast grounds and the media center. I'll be doing a lot of radio this weekat least a lot for me. I did a show late last night as I watched the San Antonio Spurs three-bomb the Miami Heat.

And I'll be blogging, of course.

There is a second book, by the way. It's in the works and will be out next year. I'm looking forward to telling you more about it when the time is right.

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