ARDMORE, Pa. — When the US Golf Association awarded the 2013 US Open to Merion Golf Club — bypassing The Country Club in Brookline — the decision stood out for a number of reasons, all having to do with this parcel of land 15 miles northwest of Philadelphia.
By bringing the US Open back to Merion for the fifth time, but first in 32 years, the USGA is breaking the recent mold of holding the national championship on sweeping, expansive layouts that can create large corporate-tent cities, stretch beyond 7,500 yards, and comfortably accommodate tens of thousands of spectators.
Merion doesn’t allow for any of that. Nestled in a neighborhood, the East Course sits on just 126 acres, about half the size of typical US Open venues. Most of the corporate areas are on the outer edge of the golf course, and tickets have been limited to 25,000 per day, because it’s all the foot traffic the course can handle.
But people will come — the tournament is a complete sellout for the 27th straight year — curious to see if a course that’s short by professional standards can still serve as a test worthy of such a championship, or if time and technology will render it outdated.
Merion, which dates to 1896 and has hosted 17 USGA championships, has the history. Will it provide the heft? It stands to offer the 156-player field a test. But is it also taking one?
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