The 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black

Mother Nature isn’t being cooperative, but the U.S. Open Golf tournament is under way at the fabled Bethpage Black course. While conditions have been stormy out on Long Island, here in California they are sunny, ideal for snapping a shot of my U.S. Golf Association 2009 cap.

The annual event always stirs up memories of the one time I got to play on media day for the Open. It was in 1998 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. That year, media day was a week or two ahead of the actual tournament, so the rough I faced wasn’t quite as high as what the pros would face.

I spent plenty of time in the rough and posted a terrible score. But I did have one great moment.

On the ninth hole, I faced an approach shot to the green from roughly 50 yards out. The green is at the base of a towering, ampitheater-like embankment, ideal for a gallery assembled to watch a major championship.

I pulled out my wedge, stepped up to the ball and took a whack. The ball popped onto the green and rolled right into the cup, giving me what likely was a par or maybe even a bogie. I don’t remember and don’t care. What I do remember was the imagined thrill of raising my club and waving thanks to a wildly cheering gallery.

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