I was fortunate enough to attend the U.S. Open at congressional this past weekend thanks to a couple of friends of mine. Those of you who follow me know the U.S. Open is my favorite tournament of the year because, in theory, it’s the most challenging for the players.
I have been to several golf tournaments but none as prestigious as the U.S. Open. My nations championship, with the greatest players in the world, under some of the most challenging conditions, (excluding this year) makes this my favorite event of the year. Having only watched it on TV, I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived but it was a great time and something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
My Top Five Moments at the 111th U.S. Open
I could write for days about my U.S. Open experience but I decided it would make more sense to give you my top five moments from the 2011 U.S. Open.
#5. Arriving At The U.S. Open: From the moment we were dropped off by our taxi (the shuttle was sold out) at Congressional I could feel a buzz. The people ushering into the event were moving a little quicker and when I reached the gate which read “Welcome to the 111th U.S. Open at Congressional”, I got the chills. The greatest players in the world were just beyond the gate and I couldn’t believe I was going to see the U.S. Open. It’s and image I won’t soon forget.
#4. The Fans: Although the U.S. Open is “America’s Championship”, it served as a great reminder of how global the game is. People from all over the world following their favorite golfers and shouting things to the players in their native tongue was pretty cool. A tip of the cap or a look and a smile by the player made it worth the trip for these people.
It wasn’t just people from other countries who made it special. We happened to stand next to the 6th tee with three young guys who drove 20 hours from Minnesota to watch our championship. They had top hats on, complimented the players and were asked by everyone, including me, why wear top hats?
#3. Watching Players Hit Driver on the 6th Tee: Want to have some fun? The next time you go to a golf tournament spend a few hours on a par 5 where the players will hit driver almost every time. At Congressional, it was the 6th hole. Nearly every player hit driver and we were front row to see it happen. Obviously these players are talented and short game is the key to success but to watch some of the long hitters, like Dustin Johnson, hit driver was a great experience.
#2. Following Phil Mickelson: When I go to golf tournaments I usually pick a hole and watch everyone come through from the best seat in the house. On Sunday morning we ventured out to find Phil Mickelson and watch one greatest players ever play the game. We finally caught up with Phil on the 15th tee box and watched him hit driver. After seeing him walk by, we decided to rush through the crowd and try to keep up with him. That’s when my friend Mac looked at me and said “We just became those guys”. You know the guys who run around after their favorite player. It was worth it. Phil it is approach to within 10 feet and knocked in his birdie putt as a crowd five people deep cheered. The best part is we were right there to see it all happen.
#1. The Players: The players make the championship. On Sunday we spent most of the time around the 5th green and the 6th tee. As every group came through someone in the crowd said something to them, most of it positive. It didn’t happen every time but most of the time the players acknowledged the fans with a simple tip of the cap, a smile or a wave. They didn’t need to do it’s great to see the players show their appreciation for the fans coming out and cheering them on.
I could go on about the history that was made by Rory McIlory at the 111th U.S. Open and how special it was but regardless of the outcome; the U.S. Open should go on every golfers list of things to do.