By Jason Cruz
Northwest Asian Weekly
The U.S. Open Golf Tournament comes to University Place, Washington June 18 through the 21st. It is a much-anticipated event that the region has been waiting on for years. The event will bring some of the top men’s golfers in the world.
Past U.S. Open Champions for the last 10 years automatically qualify for the event. This list includes Tiger Woods. The former number 1 player in the world played a round of golf earlier this month to prepare for the event. “It is a different kind of course,” Woods said. Chambers Bay is known as a “links” course, which is the oldest form of course originally developed in Britain. Links courses are typically near coastlines and are characterized by sand dunes and sparse vegetation. Chambers Bay, like other links golf courses, have undulating and sloping greens which will make the course difficult for those not familiar with its nuances.
Woods played a practice round bright and early on Monday morning before the start of the tournament Thursday. It was the first time that spectators could come and watch players prepare for the tournament.
Many golf fans gravitated to Woods, who wore a white Nike hat, teal shirt, and black slacks. Woods played just holes 10 through 18 and then finished off his day at the practice range. Much of the time he spent out on the course was studying the greens as he putted multiple balls at each hole to gauge the speed of the greens.
In addition to Woods, the U.S. Open field will have several Asian golfers that will have an opportunity to win the four-day tournament.
Current U.S. Amateur Champion Gunn Yang qualified for the field. This will be Yang’s second big PGA event as he competed in the Master’s earlier this year. The Korean American Yang attended San Diego State University.
Former University of Washington men’s golfer Richard Lee qualified for the U.S. Open at a sectional qualifier earlier this month at the Tumble Creek Club at Suncadia in Cle Elum. Since graduating from the UW in 2010, Lee has been playing professional golf and earned his PGA Tour card in 2012 enabling him to play in PGA tournaments.
Also making the tournament is Former UW Husky Cheng-Tsung Pan. The senior standout needed clutch play at the end of his U.S. Open qualifying round to make it into the tournament. It will be Pan’s third U.S. Open having qualified for the tournament in 2011 and 2013. Pan has played on a similar “links”-style course when he played in 2014’s British Open.
Kevin Na, Hideki Matsuyama, Byeong Hun An, Wenchong Liang, Masahiro Kawamura, Seuk Hyun Baek, Hiroyuki Fujita, and Alex Kim are other notable Asians that will compete for the 115th U.S. Open Championships.
All of the participants will be trying to dethrone reigning 2014 U.S. Open Champion Martin Kaymer who will be defending his title this year in University Place.
It is the first major event in the area since the Sahalee Country Club in Redmond hosted the 1998 PGA Championship.
Much scrutiny has been placed on the logistics of getting in and out of Chambers Bay. Thus, organizers have devised two main lots for spectators to park. One is at the Puyallup Fairgrounds and the other is at Fort Steilacoom. Both of these areas have ample volunteers to lead golf fans through security and onto buses which lead to Chambers Bay. Once at Chambers Bay, there is a “U.S. Open Spectator Square” where fans can shop for merchandise and get food and beverages. Areas are clearly marked so you will not be easily confused. It is a picturesque, yet sprawling course so bring your walking shoes if you plan to visit each hole. (end)
For more information, visit www.usopen.com.
Jason Cruz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.