Last Tuesday, 119 golfers, including myself, teed it up at Weymouth Country Club in Medina for a chance to play in the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, N.C., on June 12-15.
I shot 85 — that’s not a typo.
But, rest assured this is not a me-talking-about-me piece, but more a how-cool-is-that piece.
Think about it. What other sport has a national championship that is literally open to any professional or amateur across the country?
I don’t see flag football leagues where the winners advance to play the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. Or Pony Leagues where the winners move on to the World Series.
No, in other sports — and to be fair, in just about all of the other PGA Tour events we watch on TV — the field of competitors basically is predetermined.
But not the U.S. Open in golf.
Anybody, and I mean anybody with a USGA Handicap Index of 2.something or less is able to sign up and take their shot at local — and if one should advance — sectional qualifying.
PGA Tour veterans, senior players, PGA section professionals (head pros at courses), has-been amateurs, 14-year old up-and-comers and everyone in between can compete for a few precious spots to play with the big boys.
If the story sounds familiar to casual golf fans who happen to be big moviegoers, think “Tin Cup.” Kevin Costner’s portrayal of a driving range pro-turned-U.S.-Open-competitor Roy McAvoy was plausible.
I take that back. Breaking 13 of 14 clubs during the round would probably get a competitor disqualified, but the idea of a driving range pro qualifying for the actual U.S. Open could happen.
At Weymouth, my friend Garrett Frank of Boardman advanced to the sectional round by shooting the low score of the day — a 2-under par 70. I know I speak for all of Garrett’s teammates on the Average Joe’s kickball squad and for many Mahoning Valley golf fans when I say we wish him luck in the next round!
So that’s it for this week: no huge point to make; no major story to tell.
Just that even though my score was (way) higher than I had envisioned, it was worth sharing how golf’s U.S. Open is truly open.
And to congratulate Garrett and wish him luck in the next round. One more good day and he’ll be teeing it up at Pinehurst No. 2 next month.
How cool is that?
Jonah Karzmer is a former golf professional who writes a Sunday golf column for The Vindicator. In his spare time he sells commercial insurance for Huntington Insurance and loves getting feedback on his weekly columns via email at firstname.lastname@example.org