Merion was star of show

By on June 19, 2013

Todd Ruth

Ephrata Review Sports Editor

Merion.

She has such a pleasant name, but as we found out, she bites like a beast.

A few months ago, I decided to apply for media credentials for the U.S. Open.

With the event so close to our backyard, I figured I’d give it a shot. As it turned out, it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Here are a few highlights from my exciting week at the Open.

First off, all the reports of Merion being a logistical nightmare are true. Located smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood, it was amazing how they got people in and out of there.

Heck, the media drop-off was literally in someone’s driveway. No kidding.

And one of the biggest laughs I had all week was when we were walking down Golf House Road, which is right up against the 14th and 15th fairways, and we saw a mailbox. Someone wondered if the mailman had to get a ticket to deliver the mail.

Sure Merion had it’s logistical quirks, but it packed a mean punch in it’s measly 7,000 yards. The fairways were an arm’s length wide, the greens were like postage stamps and the rough was long, thick and nasty.

Wasn’t it fun watching these guys pull off shots that looked very similar to the ones you and I hit? It was silly on Sunday to see the sign guy for each group come walking by us with plus-10 being the lowest number on his board.

While they doubted it would, the course definitely held up. And then some.

I also enjoyed the nostalgia of Merion. The wicker baskets were neat, and the Hogan plaque in the middle of the 18th fairway let you know this has been a special place for a long, long time. And the clubhouse was this beautiful old building that unfortunately was off-limits to everybody. I definitely was itching to get inside that place.

And the golf, despite the scores, was indeed, spectacular. As we were standing on the 16th fairway, watching the final groups come in on Sunday, you could feel the pressure that came with every shot.

Yet they delivered, most of the time.

That drive by Justin Rose on 18, and the second shot into the green, were two of the best shots you are going to see with that much riding on them.

Wow. Talk about ice water in your veins…

As soon as it was over, everyone wondered if the Open will ever come back to Merion? Afterall, the course is a lot smaller than typical Open venues, which meant less crowds and a loss of precious dollars.

However, I think, overall the entire event was a home run. The actual course itself was fantastic, the players seemed to love it (well, most of them) and the crowd, small as it was, was fantastic.

While revenue is always a huge factor, I believe the USGA will find a way to make a return to this great gem in the next 15 years or so. It was definitely a gamble bringing it back to Merion, but in the end, it all turned out perfect.

Merion definitely stood up to the test.

More RUTH, page B-3

About Ephrata Review