Woods and McIlroy endorse U.S. Open return to Merion Golf Club

Merion Golf Club
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Merion Golf Club was a bit of a logistical challenge, but the U.S. Open went off without any major incidents.
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Monday, June 17, 2013 | 8:23 p.m.

ARDMORE, Pa. -- Merion's fifth U.S. Open is in the books. 

Now the question is, will it come back for a sixth? 

The U.S. Golf Association's gamble to bring the event back to Merion for the first time in 32 years appeared successful. The red scores expected to dominate the 6,996-yard course never came. 

The one thing Merion couldn't control was the weather. Rain that soaked Merion early in the week and softened the course stayed for the first two days. Rain also fell Sunday. 

The compact course was a bit of a logistical challenge for the players. The driving range was about a long way off on the West Course, forcing players to take a shuttle to their starting tees. But the event went off without any major incidents. 

The U.S Open is locked into sites through 2020. 

Tamed by Merion, Tiger Woods expected the course to land another spot. 

"I'm sure it will come back," Woods said. "It could definitely host another major championship. But I don't know if USGA wants to. They make a lot of money on other venues." 

Rory McIlroy lobbied for a return visit. 

"Some guys want to keep that 30-year gap going just because it's beaten up on us so much," he said. "But I think it would be great to have it back here." 

The USGA capped ticket sales to about 25,000 a day, well below the average of 40,000 daily tickets at most other venues. Residents who lived in the stately homes lining the perimeter of Merion threw open their doors for a giant block party. And when it rained, fans flocked for cover at the merchandise tents. 

"It was a fantastic atmosphere, the people were into it," Woods said. "Obviously, there weren't as many people as some of the U.S. Open sites. But this was, I think, more intimate. People were very close to you." 




It was a refreshing change to see the US Open at a smaller venue. The US Open is America's golf championship-- a true "open" tournament that any one of us can qualify for and play in. The vast majority of golfers in the US play on small, neighborhood courses, each with their own quirkiness-- a water treatment plant in the middle, a railroad running though it, an interstate highway dividing the front from back nine. I am sure we can all add to the list. For the majority of US golfers, that's part of their golf experience, and it was nice to see that reflected (at least somewhat) in the compact setting that Merion provided.