The U.S. Open: Why We Love This Game

Golf Asia - - GOLFING SCENE - BY MIKE D. TEAM TITLEIST MAN­AGER

There are so many rea­sons why we love this game. The list is long and nu­anced - the feel­ing of a well­struck iron to a tucked pin; a shared belly-laugh with an old friend (or a new one) at the 19th hole; a back­yard clos­est-to-the-sprin­kler com­pe­ti­tion with your child as the sun sets on a Wed­nes­day night.

But there's just some­thing about a U.S. Open Thurs­day (and Fri­day and Satur­day and Sun­day) that am­pli­fies all of those feel­ings that ded­i­cated golfers feel and strength­ens our con­nec­tion to the game. What is that some­thing? It's a lot of things. But it's also re­ally just one thing: It's that we're all play­ing the same game. There's noth­ing else like it.

At Shin­necock Hills, there were 20 ama­teur golfers - the most at a U.S. Open since 1962 at Oak­mont - who have earned the op­por­tu­nity to test them­selves on the game's big­gest stage, against the ab­so­lute ti­tans of their sport. That list of “dream-come-truers” while surely well-rep­re­sented by many fu­ture stars, also in­cludes a 31-year-old Brock­ton, Mas­sachusetts, fire­fighter and a 30-yearold National Hockey League ref­eree. Could you imag­ine a PGA Tour Rules Of­fi­cial com­pet­ing in the National Hockey League's Stan­ley Cup Play­offs?

This year, there were 9,049 en­tries for U.S. Open Lo­cal Qual­i­fy­ing. That's 9,049 golfers with a dream of play­ing in this national cham­pi­onship. And there are so many oth­ers, on ranges across the coun­try and the globe, right this sec­ond, work­ing on their games, hop­ing they can get their hand­i­caps low enough by next year to send in their qual­i­fy­ing ap­pli­ca­tion for the 2019 U.S. Open and pic­tur­ing what it'd be like to hear their name called on the first tee at Peb­ble Beach.

While many of us may never have the abil­ity to ever play in a U.S. Open - or a U.S. Women's Open - as golfers, we all un­der­stand the pres­sure and re­spon­si­bil­ity that goes into a golf shot. Whether it's on the first tee at Shinny on Thurs­day morn­ing, or any­where else. We just get it. It's why we watch. It's why we play.

Golf is an as­pi­ra­tional game. A game that chal­lenges us to com­pare our­selves, even if only for one shot, to the best play­ers in the world. We all play by the same set of rules, with the same equip­ment, some­times even on the same cour­ses. And with ev­ery shot, we're faced with the same goal. To be at our best. It's that feel­ing, as golfers, which unites us.

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