At the age of 67 I continue to work events off my “bucket list.” This past week I attended my first U.S. Open golf tournament at the Oakmont Country Club in Pittsburgh, PA.
I have been to the PGA tournament numerous times, and even the Master’s, but had never attended “the toughest test in golf” in person before.
To say the golf course was tough was an understatement. Those of you who have played number 18 at Meshingomesia Country Club and have walked up that fairway have a fairly good idea of the type of elevation change they have at Oakmont.
Being related through marriage to Adam Scott, I wanted to watch the Aussie great play, so I walked 18 holes with him on Friday. I was about ready to go hit a hotel bed somewhere because just the walk knocked me out, let alone the hills of Oakmont.
Throw in over 200 sand traps, jet-fast greens, thin fairways and the pressure of the toughest of all the majors and you can only start to imagine what the players went through.
To make it tougher, Scott played no golf on Thursday: Rained out. He played 33 holes on Friday, 18 of which I walked with him. He played 18 more on Saturday and then wrapped up the tournament with 21 holes on Sunday.
After what I saw this past week I can see why 46-year-old Phil Mickelson is not even making the cut line anymore.
Throw in 680-yard par 5s, 302-yard par threes and you get an idea of just how tough this major event is.
It was interesting to see all the young guns taking a shot at golf immortality. Twenty-two-year-olds like Jordan Spieth are becoming the new stars of the game. Their immense talent will be on display for years to come.
So, another chance for me to mark off an event from my bucket list.
Next up will be a trip to the Super Bowl when the Cleveland Browns play for their first NFL title in more than 50 years.
Oh yeah, I’ll have to live another 50 years to see that happen.
Jim Brunner is the voice of sports in Grant County.