RENSLOW: US Open truly open to all | TheUnion.com

RENSLOW: US Open truly open to all

John Renslow
Golf columnist

Open [oh-puhn] – Available; obtainable.

The hats are woven with a company logo. The shirts have at least one vendor's crest on the chest and perhaps a second or third on the sleeves. Signage is draped on the grandstands bearing the names of America's largest companies, while retailers have large tents filled with millions of dollars in product for sale.

Our game has become much more commercial and there are plusses and minuses to this marketability. For the better, more and more people are being exposed to the game and its top players, yet sometimes it looks like NASCAR or a minor league baseball park.

Thankfully, it hasn't changed the heart of the game. You stand or fall on your own merits. The professionals don't get paid unless they play well. One can even play on many of same golf courses they do. In fact, this week's site is available to the public the other 51 weeks out of the year.

A significant number of golf's 30 million players around the country (professional and amateur) are what we call "purists." those who keep the game's origins in the forefront.

This is not necessarily an old-fashioned point of view. Styles of apparel can change, golf courses will be updated or renovated, and improvements will be made in equipment, but the desire to find the best player is timeless.

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Toward that end, each year the United States Golf Association (USGA) hosts an event to find golf's best player, no matter their name or background. It is known as the United States Open Championship and it is truly that; open. Virtually any legitimate player, from anywhere, professional or amateur, rich or poor, can attempt to qualify and play in this Open Championship.

With records going to back to the 16th century and rules (needed for competition) developed in the 18th century, these open championships have been held for nearly 150 years.

Today, the USGA, committed to amateur golf, continues to provide this platform, our national championship. As a reminder from last week, professionals and amateurs alike may enter a local qualifying. Those who play well move on to a regional qualifier where only the top players will earn their spot to compete in the championship, which started Thursday at Erin Hills Golf Course in Erin, Wisconsin.

The U.S. Open Championship is available to all comers, staying true to our traditions and rewarding those who can rise to the occasion. Of the thousands who filled out their entry form and teed it up in local qualifying, only a few dozen of these earned a starting time amongst the tour's proven players.

As you will see on your television screen this weekend (on FS1 and Fox), a U.S. Open golf course is not for the faint of heart. Some time ago, one participant expressed is dissatisfaction that the USGA was "trying to embarrass the best players in the world."

The memorable response from the USGA's, Sandy Tatum, "We're not trying to embarrass the best players in the world. We're trying to identify them."

John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at jrenslow@yahoo.com.

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