RENSLOW: US Open is open to all
Open [oh-puhn] – Available; obtainable.
The hats are woven with a vendor’s logo. 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, and retailers have tents filled with millions of dollars in product for sale.
The game has become much more commercialized and there are plusses and minuses to this marketability. More and more people are being exposed to the players and the sport and yet sometimes it looks like a minor league baseball park.
Thankfully, it hasn’t changed the heart of the game. One stands or falls on their own merits. The professionals don’t get paid unless they play well. You can even play on the same golf courses they do (and probably see a lot more of it). In fact, many of the tournament sites are available to the public the other fifty-one weeks out of the year.
A significant number of golf’s 20 million players around the country (professional and amateur) are what we call “purists,” those who keep the game’s origins in the forefront. An organization that is a great resource for them and an ardent supporter of the game is the United States Golf Association (USGA).
Toward that end, each year since 1895 the USGA as hosted an event to find the nation’s best golfer, regardless of their background or career choice. It is known as the United States Open Championship and it is truly that; open. Virtually any player, from anywhere, professional or amateur, rich or poor, can attempt to qualify and play in this Open Championship.
Today, the USGA continues to provide for amateur golf and the US Open, as our national championship aims to put the world’s best to the test. Professionals and amateurs alike may enter a local qualifying. This year, nearly 10,000 competitive players from all walks of life began this journey at over 100 locations in 43 states.
Those who play well move on to 11 sectional qualifying locations where only the top players will earn their spot to compete in the championship. One of those players comes from right here in the Gold Country. Corey Campbell, who works and plays locally, shot a 69 at local qualifying on his way to earning a spot in the sectional qualifying in San Francisco next month.
With some solid play and maybe a little luck, Campbell could find himself rubbing elbows with the game’s best at this year’s championship site, the Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania. Oakmont CC is ranked in the top five for toughest golf courses in the country and is home to the famous ‘Church Pew’ bunkers. So, although in golf, as in life, it is open to everyone and we are all created equal, it’s winner will likely need a few answered prayers to take home this year’s trophy.
John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at email@example.com.
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