US Open notebook

After working NHL playoffs, referee Garrett Rank qualified for US Open

File-This March 28, 2017, file photo shows New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac, left, talking to referee Garrett Rank, right, during the first period of an NHL game, in Newark, N.J. Rank, a full-time NHL referee who played only four rounds of golf during the hockey season, was co-medallist at his qualifying site in Georgia and will play his first U.S. Open this week. Rank, of Elmira, Ont., worked 73 games during the regular season and three playoff games in his second NHL season. But his golf resume is just as impressive. He is a three-time Canadian Mid-Amateur Champion and represented Canada at the Pan-Am Games in 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
file/Julio Cortez/Associated Press
Referee Garrett Rank has officiated 187 games in the NHL.

Garrett Rank is trading skates for spikes on a stage far larger than anything he has experienced.

No one plays Shinnecock Hills on ice.

This week is not about blue lines and high-sticking. It’s about green fairways and lag putting.


Rank’s day job ended two months ago when he finished working the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. That left Rank, an NHL referee for the last three years, enough time to qualify for his first US Open.

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Rank made it to Shinnecock with a pair of 71s at Ansley Golf Club in Georgia, with fellow NHL referee Dan O’Rourke as his caddie. He earned one of three spots.

‘‘What a dream come true,’’ Rank said.

Rank’s older brother, Kyle Rank, will be on the bag at the US Open. Kyle caddied for Garrett two years ago at the Canadian Open and plays leisurely himself.

Their father, Rich Rank, was also a hockey referee.


On the ice, Rank has officiated 187 career NHL games. He made his debut in 2015 and was promoted to full time in 2016.

Inside the ropes, Rank has competed in 15 USGA events. His best result was in 2012 when he lost in the final of the US Mid-Amateur Championship, one match away from making it to the Masters. Rank is, however, a three-time winner of the Canadian Mid-Amateur title.

‘‘I got a question the other day about whether I would want to finish in the top 10 in the US Open or work Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final,’’ Rank said, ‘‘and I answered with the top 10 at the US Open.

‘‘I said I’d save the Stanley Cup Final for 15 years down the road when my golf game wasn’t as strong.’’

Pleasure boating

Tiger Woods brought his yacht, Privacy, to a US Open in New York and missed the cut for the first time in a major.


That was 12 years ago when the Open was at Winged Foot.

He can only hope for a different outcome at Shinnecock Hills.

‘‘Staying on the dinghy helps,’’ Woods said with a grin.

The 155-foot yacht is said to include a Jacuzzi, gym, and movie theater. It doesn’t sound as though Woods has spent much time ashore except for being at Shinnecock Hills for his first US Open in three years.

‘‘Sag Harbor is a cute little town,’’ he said. ‘‘I’ve only been there for a few days now. I haven’t really got a chance to walk about a little bit, but certainly will this week.”

Woods at least has been able to avoid the traffic that has led to commutes of close to two hours from the official hotel depending on the time of morning. Most players have rented homes in the Southampton area.

Different challenge?

Brooks Koepka scoffs when told this week’s US Open will be a far different challenge than the tournament he won last year at Erin Hills with a score of 16 under par.

Koepka, who scored his first major in Wisconsin, sees little difference in this traditional layout at Southampton and the far newer Erin Hills.

‘‘To be honest with you, I think they’re actually kind of similar,’’ Koepka said. ”The fairways are obviously not as wide, but I think the fairways out here are pretty generous. I feel like you’ve got the second shot, a couple of runoff areas around the greens where you’ve got the option to putt it if you want or you could chip it.

‘‘Erin Hills, it’s a second-shot golf course. That’s how I see it. I feel like you’ve got to position your iron play, put it in the right spots, put it below the hole, things like that. And if it keeps firming up the way it has over the last two days, it could be a little links style, too. I could see that.’’

They’re all in

The US Open filled out its 156-man field when two players, Emiliano Grillo and Byeong Hun An, were among the top 60 in the world ranking.

The USGA had set aside six spots for those who might get into the top 60 after last week’s tournaments. Four more spots were awarded to the first alternates from sectional qualifying in Japan (Rikuya Hoshino), Europe (Ryan Evans), Columbus, Ohio (Ted Potter Jr.), and Tennessee (Scott Piercy).

If an exempt player were to withdraw, the next alternate spot goes to Max Greyserman from the Oregon sectional.