My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
A few individual sports have an annual US Open. Normally run by the governing body, the “Open” in the title of the event means that anyone may enter. The USBC has an “Open” for both men and women each year, and a number of our local elite keglers have been able to compete at the high level, by virtue of sectional qualifying.
Recently, the US Women’s Open for golf was held at the fabled Interlachen Country Club in Edina, MN. I found it interesting that the official logo, and all the signs in the area read “US Women’s Open …”, but there were very few US Women in the tournament. Still, a US Open golf tournament comes to Minnesota maybe once every 20 years, so my wife and I purchased tickets for the opening round on Thursday.
Growing up in the western suburbs, I saw the 17th green of Interlachen many times (while playing Meadowbrook), and I drove by the clubhouse 64 times per year on my way to Gus Young’s Biltmore Lanes. But I have only seen the course from the inside for the 2002 Solheim Cup, and this most recent event. It is a nostalgic tract of land, and you can’t help but think of Patty Berg and George Mikan as you meander among the 18 holes. If only the trees could talk - - they were just saplings I suppose when Bobby Jones won the 1930 Men’s US Open on this very course. Look along the fairways of the back nine, and you can spot Carl Pohlad’s home. You can’t miss it, it’s the biggest one.
Drive for show and putt for dough. Everyone knows the old adage, including the TV stations, so if you watch the event on the tube, you will see mostly approach shots and putts. We opted for the tees and watched 100 different players, most under 5’ 6” tall, and weighing about 120-130 lbs, hit golf balls 275-300 yards and 95% of them land in the fairway. I was in total awe of all the players, and how well they play the game.
I won’t go into detail about the concession stand, but I will say a 20 oz. bottle of Aquafina water was $3.00. That’s a little over about $18 per gallon And you thought the price of gas was high. (Never mind, I can’t drink gasoline, it gives me gas). We did stop in the big souvenir tent. They should have called it the souvenir Galleria; after all, it was in Edina. Suffice to say you could outfit your bowling team with nice collared US Women’s Open logo shirts for under $400.00. But that’s only if you have a five person team.
I wanted to take the Met Life Blimp as a shuttle back to the Southdale parking lot but the guy said there wasn’t enough helium in the world to lift me, so I got back in the orange Blue Bird school bus to get back to my truck. I think it might have been the first time I rode in a vehicle that was older than I am. But it was a great day on the golf course.