BROOKLINE, Mass ( Associated Press) — The US Open hasn’t been the only golf major that looks like a sideshow, lost in the noise and signs of non-sporting disciplines.
Golf was not the biggest subject prior to the 1990 PGA Championship in Shoal Creek, Alabama. The club’s founder said that Shoal Creek would not be pressured into accepting its first black member.
Sponsors pulled their TV commercials, protests were planned, and Shoal Creek changed its membership to a black insurance executive a week before the pageant.
A battleground developed in 2003 between the Masters and activist Martha Burke, who demanded that Augusta National accept a woman as a member for the first time. Club president Hootie Johnson stubbornly said that day would come, but “not at gunpoint.”
Tiger Woods was looking for his third consecutive Masters, something unprecedented. The ten questions he received from the press were about social problems and the anarchy in Augusta.
The difference is that the US Open is now approaching a position that its organizers did not create.
It is only by a twist of fate that the return to its old home at The Country Club for the 122nd Open comes a week after the Saudi-funded rebel LIV golf series began in London.
Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson are two of the most notorious quitters and are among the 14 players suspended by the PGA Tour who will compete in the US Open.
Anyone want to talk golf?
“Hopefully that will change tomorrow,” USGA Director Mike Wan said on Wednesday. “I can also say that there is no need to ask how we feel about it. Just ask the 156 golfers who are working hard to get out of there tomorrow. They are trying to focus on the same like us.”
It all starts with a local favorite, Stanford’s Michael Thorbjörnson, who grew up near Boston and won the US Junior Amateur. He will start on the first hole. Fran Quinn, who is 57 years old and lives 40 minutes from Brookline, will start from the 10th hole.
Mickelson was cheered and applauded – though not as loudly as in previous years – during the practice rounds. He is expected to sing “Happy Birthday” when he turns 52 during the first round on Thursday.
It’s about history, a trophy that dates back to 1985, the second oldest championship in golf. That should be enough to grab everyone’s attention for four days.