Player of the week
Inbee Park. Adam Scott is trying to win the US Open this week, which would give him the first two major championships of the season. Park has already accomplished that on the LPGA Tour. Park, who won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April, needed extra holes to beat Catriona Matthew and win the LPGA Championship. Anybody who follows the LPGA Tour shouldn’t be surprised. Park is ranked No. 1 in the world, leads the tour in earnings, and now has seven career LPGA victories.
According to the US Golf Association, three members of the same men’s college golf team have never played in the same US Open. Until now. California, which had been the country’s top-ranked team for most of the season before losing in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship, is being represented at Merion by Michael Kim, Max Homa, and Michael Weaver. All bring stout credentials: Homa won the individual portion of the NCAA, Weaver lost in last year’s US Amateur final, and Kim just won the Jack Nicklaus Award, one of college golf’s Player of the Year honors. There has been talk that an amateur might challenge at Merion this week, the way Jim Simons did in 1971, when he tied for fifth. If that’s the case, don’t be surprised if it comes from one of the three Golden Bears.
The Merion effect
As the US Golf Association likes to promote, one of its main functions is overseeing its 13 national championships, and it uses funds brought in from the US Open to stage those championships at some of the country’s best courses. That pot is expected to take a financial hit this year, according to a report in Bloomberg Businessweek. Because of Merion’s size limitations, ticket sales have been capped at 25,000 spectators per day, thousands less than at most US Open venues. That means less ticket revenue, and Bloomberg reports that the USGA is expecting $10 million less than usual from this US Open. Merchandise sales could make up some of that, and the report stated that sales are already up 9 percent.
Quote of the week
“It’s amazing how Ben Hogan hit a 1-iron from that position. It’s a 4-iron for me. It’s amazing how the golf ball and the clubs have changed.”
— Ernie Els, speaking of the spot in the 18th fairway at Merion where Ben Hogan famously played a 1–iron onto the green in the 1950 US Open, which he won in a playoff. A plaque marks the spot, and a number of players this week have hit shots from there.
PGA: US Open, Ardmore, Pa. Purse: $8 million (winner’s share $1.44 million). Defending champion: Webb Simpson. Number of top-10 players in the field: Ten (Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Brandt Snedeker, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Phil Mickelson). TV: Thursday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (ESPN), 3-5 p.m. (NBC), 5-7 p.m. (ESPN), Friday 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. (ESPN), 3-5 p.m. (NBC), 5-7 p.m. (ESPN), Saturday-Sunday noon-7:30 p.m. (NBC).
Web.com: Air Capital Classic, Wichita, Kan. Purse: $650,000 (winner’s share $108,000). Defending champion: Casey Wittenberg.