You may not like golf, but maybe one day a year you can’t help loving it. It would be today, when any qualified and plagued by dreams amateur and club professional has a chance to play in our national championship. The US Open is our most democratic sporting events. If you’re an am with a handicap of 1.4 or less, you could have played in a local qualifier last month. If you made it through this, you’re somewhere today, 36 hole grinding for a chance to be one of 156 at the Country Club in Brookline, MA in 10 days.
Think about it. Rickie Fowler must qualify today. He has played 12 Opens and has five Tour victories. Ditto Zach Johnson, 18 Opens, two major titles, captain of the US Ryder Cup team in 2024. Lucas Glover (former Open champion) Aaron Wise (nearly won Memorial Sunday), Jason Dufner, Brandt Snedeker, West Sider Jim Herman , East Sider Mike Auterson. . . and you.
This kind of opportunity simply does not exist anywhere else in the sport.
Saturday morning, my next boss, Mike Auterson, was helping organize a trip to the Hickory Woods golf course near Loveland. Make sure each cart has two packs of snacks, Doc!
This morning at Springfield CC, he was playing the game to try to qualify for the US Open. Thirty-six holes. They call it the longest day in golf. Thirty-six is cool if you’re in Myrtle Beach with a 12-pack on ice in the cart’s cooler. Otherwise, it’s grinding.
Auterson is the pro at Hickory Woods. I’m the newest cart barn boy out there. More on that momentarily.
Of course, making the Open does not confer an excellent chance of winning the Open. The only players to make it through local and final qualifying to win were Ken Venturi (’64) and Orville Noody (’69). The list grows when it includes players who didn’t have to go through the local 18-hole qualifier:
Gene Littler (1961), Julius Boros (1963), Jerry Pate (1976), Steve Jones (1996), Michael Campbell (2005) and Lucas Glover (2009) won after passing through the final qualifications.
More than 9,000 registered golfers, for approximately 70 of the 156 Open slots. Passing the qualifications is like kayaking in the eye of a needle. Also, so american. If you’re good enough, you can live a dream.
I watched Johnny Bench try to qualify multiple times. Also Chris Sabo. Sam Arnold, The Vineyard pro, did it a few years ago. Others here have done it too, and I apologize for forgetting their names. Do not hesitate to inform me.
good luck to Jim Hermann, a PGA Tour winner who started his career as a kid playing Miami Whitewater and working under pro Harry Alexander, who is now at Clovernook.
And of course to Mike Auterson, who taught me everything I know about golf cart watering. Hopefully in 10 days, Mike, you’re not in Hickory demonstrating the intricacies of filling Club Man with gasoline.
Now. . .
THANK YOU. A sincere appreciation for the avalanche of kind words that followed my retirement announcement last week. If I had known it was going to be this awesome, I would have has already retired several times. Really wonderful.
If you didn’t know, TML is closing its doors at the end of this month. I have no idea who the next Enquirer sports columnist will be (they didn’t ask me for help finding him) or if that person will have an interest in keeping this space alive. Part of me hopes so. An even piece hopes not.
We had something good here. Ever since the first post in February 2006 – a few hundred words about Diamond Head’s rise while “working” the Pro Bowl in Honolulu – TML has been synonymous with smart, respectful sports talk. It was different from sports, of course, because it was my blog and the newspaper let me do what I wanted with it.
Music, Beer, Bourbon, Travel, Family, Food, Vacation, Travel Reports, Cars, Movies, TV, Books, Pets, etc. I was proud we had civil conversations and never strayed into social media hell. It was your Space as much as mine. Thank you for what we have done.
My 16 years hosting TML have been sublime, in that I even met one of my best friends ever here. Accessories, Pogo/Greg B. I love you, big dick.
Thanks also to Jay and Bluegrass Kat and Pat W and the late great Glenn Washington, aka Avondale’s Finest/Mason Mauler/Swiggle Wiggle. Thank you to everyone who helped take care of The Morning Line.
If you are ever in Hickory Woods. I’ll be the guy behind the wall, picking up dead empties from carts.
OKAY. Enough of that.
THE CLUB HAS RETURNED THIS WEEKEND. Or something. Do we really know how to measure the progress of this team? It is so a chaos of moving parts. Between injuries and the massive annihilation of clubs 20 and 21, what exactly are we looking for?
We are definitely cheer the laundrybecause the people who wear it are passing through.
This year’s team will not be next year’s team. Not after they’ve finished distributing as many players as possible. Luis Castillo, we barely knew you.
How many of the current 26 players (or whatever the current number is, I can’t follow) can you say for sure will be here this time next year?
India, Stephenson, Greene, Lodolo, Votto. A few lifters. Probably Senzel. Mahle maybe. Given the flow, what does it matter that these Reds lost three of four to Washington? Of the national championships, Senzel said: “We have to beat teams like that if we want to be where we know we can be.”
He is a kind of a strange quote. Beating a team with the 2nd worst record in the league is instructive? But it makes sense. To not be the worst, you have to beat the next worst.
And BTW, it would help if the guys weren’t picked 1st with two outs in the 9th inning, with the tying runner just ahead at 2nd base.
THE WEEKEND WAS FABULOUS. . . If you’ve never driven Rte 52 downstream, past New Richmond and all the little towns, you’ve missed it. We do it a few times a year. We always stop to take the ferry in Augusta, Ky., notably on the first Saturday of June, for Art in the Garden. It’s a modest little street festival in one of the region’s most charming little towns. Home of the Clooney clan. TML sez ckout. The ferry is free if you leave your car on the Ohio side.
. . . went to the Aronoff on Thursday evening, to see Kill a mockingbird. Indelible story, impeccably interpreted. Richard Thomas (John Boy Walton) excelled as Atticus Finch, but it was the rest of the cast that made the show memorable.
. . . do my last hike to Dublin, for the last round of the Memorial. I’ve been to Jack’s Tournament at least 20 times. Always good, even when it rains, which is often the case. I’ve seen Tiger win there five times. Also: Tom Watson, Greg Norman (twice) Fred Couples and Ernie Els.
I try never to miss an opportunity to listen to Nicklaus speak. My early years, he was still playing. Such a treat.
TUNE O’ THE DAY. . . Lots of different live versions of this track. I have heard several. This one is the standard, IMO.