U.S. Open heads to San Francisco in 2012

June 13, 2011

The U.S. Open moves across the country to the Olympic Club in San Francisco next year. The last time the Open was contested there, Lee Janzen won the second of his two titles.

The tournament comes back to the East Coast for the following two years, beginning at Merion in Ardmore, Pa., which is a suburb of Philadelphia. It’s also the site of perhaps the most iconic image in golf history, that being ailing Ben Hogan’s finish after hitting a 1-iron on the 72nd hole that allowed him to force a playoff he won easily the following day.

In 2014, the Open returns to historic Pinehurst in North Carolina. The tournament has been there twice since 1999, with Michael Campbell winning in 2005 and the late Payne Stewart before that.

Temperature watch

The average high temperature in the Washington area in June is nearly 85 degrees, and there was some concern the recent spate of oppressive heat may linger into this week. Conditions should be relatively comfortable, though, with highs in the low- to mid-80s every day but Sunday, which could reach 85-90. Visit the Capital Weather Gang blog for daily forecasts.

Trophy trivia

Unlike the British Open’s Claret Jug or the PGA Championship’s Wanamaker Trophy, the hardware accompanying a U.S. Open title doesn’t have a fancy name. It’s called simply the U.S. Open Championship Trophy.

The current trophy dates from 1947. The original trophy was lost in a fire the year before, more than 50 years after the USGA first presented it in 1895.

The trophy, with the names of all the winners engraved in block type, has a permanent home at the USGA museum in Far Hills, N.J. Each year the winner receives a replica to keep.

Playoff information

The U.S. Open’s playoff format is 18 holes. If there is still a tie at that point, it goes to sudden death.

The U.S. Open has ended 33 times with a playoff, most recently with Tiger Woods beating Rocco Mediate in 2008 at Torrey Pines in San Diego. Woods won on the 19th hole of the playoff with a par.

The last playoff before that came in 2001, when Retief Goosen beat Mark Brooks at Southern Hills by two strokes.

Tiger effect

Tickets for the U.S. Open may not be exactly in the affordable category, but at least they’re a bit more reasonable now that Woods is no longer participating, according to a report by Bloomberg.

A package of tickets to all four days of the tournament fell from $500 to $402 on StubHub on June 7, which was the day Woods announced on his Web site he was withdrawing in order to give his left leg more time to heal from a lingering injury.

The U.S. Open has sold out each of the past 24 years, and organizers have said they expect this week’s event to do the same despite the absence of the most recognized player in the world.

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.
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