A Truly Open Playing Field - Shinecock Hills - USGA OPEN
The men’s 118th USGA Open starts today, June14th, 2018, and the build up is tremendous . . . Tiger, Phil, Rory, Jordan, Dustin, Jason. . . interviews with past champions, quotes from players, speculation on how the USGA will set up the course and the all out praise for Shinnecock Hills Golf Club itself makes me want to go get a ring side seat.
Yet let’s look at a little history farther back than just past champions which proves to be very interesting . . .
Shinnecock Hills Golf Club is on the far eastern end of Long Island in the town of Southampton, NY. It is the oldest organized golf club in America being established in 1891and today always ranks in the top ten greatest courses in the country. The club was named for the Shinnecock Indians who lived on the eastern end of LI for thousands of years. I don’t think they played golf, but who knows. . . It’s Shinnecock! Oh. . . but members of the Shinnecock Indian Nation did help build the course and a member once did play in a USGA Open. Imagine!
Now get this in 1891, when it was established - from the inception - it was the first club to allow women golfers. . .yes really! Mary Queen of Scots would be proud and many others even more proud! More importantly. . .It wasn’t even a thought or a discussion that women could not play. . .It just was! They even built a 9-hole women’s only course in 1893. Imagine!
Oldest club in America - top ten greatest courses in US - site of USGA Opens - and has always allowed women to play!
Consider all of the above . . . equal fairways from the beginning! Imagine . . .an equal playing field.
Now to how to qualify to play in the men’s USGA Open.
Over 8,500 individuals compete in 113 qualifiers to secure one of 78 spots available to non-exempt US Open participants. There are 78 exemptions given to winners of previous tournaments such as - the winners of the USGA Open for the past ten years; the winners of the 2017 USGA Amateur, the USGA Junior Amateur, the USGA Mid-Amateur, and a dozen more exempt status positions. It is a very, very, long, long par 5 to get there, to say the least! Hats and visors off to all those who try and all those who get there. Way to go!
The field of 156 world class golfers tee off today and I can’t wait to have my ring side seat . . .in front of my TV.