I can’t believe it has already been two weeks since the U.S. Open ended. That last day, once the early newscasts were over, I attempted to follow Tiger around, just to see what it was like. I made it to the 11th tee. Since he and Baddeley were in the last pair, there was no one else to watch, so people left their seats or spots along the rope, and the throngs grew and grew. I gave up, and trudged to the media tent, carrying my trusty periscope, and watched the rest on–what else–television. I still don’t know why Furyk pulled out that driver on 17. And you have to wonder, was Tiger distracted by the impending birth of his first child? Who knows? What would Tiger have done if he had tied Carbrera on 18. He had promised he would drop out and fly to his pregnant wife’s side if she went into labor– and low and behold, Monday, the greatest golfer in the world became a dad. After watching him in person at the news conferences after each round, I have become more and more impressed with him. His unshakable confidence just oozes from every pour. And , on that last afternoon, his praise of the crowds who were clearly pulling for him was truly genuine.
This photo represents everything about how the USGA pulled this off. These are port-o-johns in the media tent, and they were the same in all the corporate tent areas. They were beautiful. I just have a thing for nice bathrooms.

And,again, many apologies and praise to the volunteers–including my sister and her husband. The sun and exertion addled my brain, and I will never hear the end of having said the volunteers got paid, instead of paying, 150 bucks for their uniforms.
Another apology to Spencer Mellon, one of the young Central Catholic golfers in the piece about Corey O’Connor, the golf coach at Central. I know Spencer’s father, Grant, and called Spencer “Grant” twice during the interview, then wrote it into the story. What an idiot I am. He, and his mother, were such good sports about it.

And everyone seemded to be such good sports about getting up with the sun, and piling aboard all the buses. That last night, I had gone to an after party at the Club, and my friends rushed me to the Hartwood boarding area near the main admissions gate, before it was too late. It looked like the last bus was leaving, about 9:45, and we yelled for it to stop, but no luck. So the woman with the walkie-talkie called the very last bus, and he was on his way. had my own, private ride, and my friends said their last memory of the Open, was me waving out the window of that big yellow vehicle, yelling “Thank you,” and disappearing into the darkness. The driver told me he had made 15 trips everyday for seven days, and I was the last one. My car was the only one there, parked on the huge expanse of Hartwood Acres. I am sure that I speak for people like this family– walking up No. 1 fairway after the Tiger hordes had passed–when I say, I was really sad to have it end. I am sure the USGA, the players, and the members of Oakmont were, to some degree, relieved it was over. But when I talked to Club President Bill Griffin a couple of days later, he expressed mixed feelings as he watched all the tents and grandstands being dismantled.

In the end, the golf course was the star, at least for many of us from the area. Can you anthropomorphize a golf course. In this case, I think you can. It was invincible, brutish, delicate, unpredictable. Perhaps it epitomizes what is so appealing about golf. As you walk the fairways, wack your way out of the rough, dig your way out of the bunkers–it is like conquering, or exploring, new territories. There is something sweeping about the scope of the game. It is not played in the more confined areas of a field, an arena, even a track. And Oakmont, now returned to its links-like origins, seems to remain one of the toughest to tame. What a great week it was!!! Oh, and a footnote. I know Sergio Garcia didn’t make the cut, along with some of the other highly ranked golfers. But a friend emailed me this story about her granddaughter. The woman said her 16 year old granddaughter had just spent a trying day at Children’s hospital, and was standing at the ropes watching Sergio. Without any prompting, Sergio walked over and handed her a golf ball.( I think it was a golf ball). So many folks have stories like that, people who came all the way from Bend, Oregon, and New Mexico. From Toronto, and Tarentum. And most of them, I think, came away with an appreciation for the beauty and hospitality of this region.

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