Saturday, June 15, 2013

U.S. Open Day Two Wrap-Up

Thanks to Eric for the great Saturday morning coverage.

Philadelphia, as it turns out, is not a cosmopolitan city.  It is, instead, the Auburn of major East Coast cities -- a proud underdog compared to the effete snobs who live in New York and Boston and Washington.  Yesterday morning, my sons and I decided to take SEPTA (the Philadelphia train system) from our hotel downtown out to Merion.  As it turns out, this is incredibly easy and convenient -- if you know what you are doing.  Our hotel is literally a two-minute walk from the nearest subway station, and if you take the right trains, there is another stop that is literally one minute from the golf course.  The only problem is that Philadelphia -- unlike, say, Washington -- is designed for people who live here, not for visitors.  They use lots of terms like "the Market-Frankford line" that have no meaning for outsiders.  So we were flummoxed in terms of trying to figure out exactly which train to take or how to find it.

But cosmopolitanism isn't everything -- and sometimes I think it's not much of anything.  SEPTA doesn't have great signage, but it has very nice people who went out of their way to get us safely to Merion.  Time after time, we ran into folks who recognized us as strangers, figured out we were going to Merion, and helped us on our journey.  Sometimes this was confusing.  We needed to take the Norristown High Speed Line -- but people kept telling us to take "Route 100," which was not on any map we could see.  It turns out that years ago, the Norristown High Speed Line was known as Route 100 -- and even though the bureaucrats have renamed it, everyone we met still used the old name.  (In fact, we eventually saw a bunch of the old "100" signs as our train clattered through the suburbs.)  One man explained that Route 100 used to be the P & W, or Philadelphia and Western Railroad line -- although folks in the Philly suburbs called in the Pig and Whistle.  Anyone from western Kentucky will recognize all of this as the mark of a community with a strong shared memory, who knows who it is and who is proud to tell its story to outsiders.

And so it is appropriate that Merion has been the USGA's go-to course in Philadelphia for most of its history.  Merion is not a course for cosmopolitans -- it is small, and old, and odd.  And because crowd sizes at Merion are limited, the USGA will likely lose money by coming here.  But cosmopolitanism and money are both overrated in our time.  We don't spend enough time appreciating other qualities -- like tradition, and local pride, and beauty.  How many times each year do we sports fans have to put up with boring, sterile events with no grounding in history -- from a Nats/Royals series to yet another meaningless soccer friendly -- just because a businessman somewhere decided that more money could be made this way?  No matter how many times I hear cynics in the press tell me that "sports is just a business," I will never believe it.  In our capitalistic, sophisticated age, sports is an escape -- a celebration of the older, pre-industrial values that you can find in the Bible and the Iliad.  Honor and bravery and loyalty -- these are the sorts of things that sports fans want to see.  Philadelphia understands that, and it would be nice if more folks in the business of sport did as well.

Here is the top 10 (with ties) after the second round:

T1.  B. Horschel:  -1 (72+67=139)
T1.  P. Mickelson:  -1 (67+72=139)

T3.  L. Donald (ENG):  Even (68+72=140)
T3.  S. Stricker:  Even (71+69=140)
T3.  J. Rose (ENG):  Even (71+69=140)

T6.  J. Senden (AUS):  +1 (70+71=141)
T6.  N. Colsaerts (BEL):  +1 (69+72=141)
T6.  C. Schwartzel (RSA):  +1 (70+71=141)
T6.  H. Mahan:  +1 (72+69=141)

T10.  M. Goggin (AUS):  +2 (68+74=142)
T10.  I. Poulter (ENG):  +2 (71+71=142)
T10.  H. Stenson (SWE):  +2 (74+68=142)

Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Ernie Els are all tied for 13th place at 3 over par.

1 comment:

  1. This was terrific. I always enjoyed visiting Philadelphia; of course, I love New York and Washington, too. I've never been to Boston.

    And thanks, Go Heath.