This week is US Open week in the world of golf. For many, the US Open may not be as prestigious as the Masters, or as storied as the British Open, but for me it’s the best event in golf. Here’s why…
For starters, I’m an American, and the US Open is my national championship. The event is always held at wonderful golf courses, many of which are among the most difficult and prestigious in the country. And no golf tournament in the world is as difficult to win as the US Open. It’s hard to win any major championship, but no other event requires such a thorough examination of a golfer’s game than the US Open.
The United States Golf Association, the governing body in American golf (and the organization that conducts the US Open), prides itself on making par a good score in their preeminent championship. They grow out the rough, pinch the fairways, shave the greens, and make the course firm and fast. Mishit shots that would otherwise be OK in other majors often find themselves in horrible positions at the US Open. When you add the pressure of winning a major championship the pinched-in fairways and rock-hard greens can seem almost impossible to hit. And if you do hit those greens, you know that putts can easily get away from you if they miss the hole.
And lastly, anyone with a handicap of 1.4 or better can attempt to qualify for the US Open. Sure, it’s incredibly difficult to make it through the multiple qualifying stages, but it is truly open to anyone who has the game to get in. No other major championship gives as many elite amateurs and professional mini-tour players the opportunity to qualify as the US Open does. It is truly an “open” golf championship.
I’ve been fortunate to qualify for a number of USGA national championships during my life. I’ve never made it to the US Open, but I have made it to the US Junior, the US Amateur, and the US Mid Amateur. I know firsthand how special the USGA events are, and the US Open is the best of them all.
So if you like golf, tune in this week to see how the best players in the world handle the pressure of trying to win one of the game’s biggest championships. And just so you know, the picture above was taken by me last month at Olympia Fields Country Club, outside of Chicago. Jim Furyk won his only US Open there in 2003.