BOILED PEANUTS AND PORK SKINS, read the sign. There’s no mistaking I was in the Carolinas headed for the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. I traveled from the north and the west—I-74 and I-73 from High Point this morning, then 211 East for the last 18 miles to Pinehurst.
It was early. I wanted to get there. I passed the turnoff to the Village of Pinehurst and drove a bit farther, looking for the Lot H sign, the media parking lot. There. Good. I turned in. No one stopped me to look at my pass.
First-day logistics are always a bit of an unknown, but this is my fourth consecutive U.S. Open and everything went smoothly this morning. I know the USGA routine, and it hasn’t changed much. Getting onto the historic property and collecting my media badge and other information were a breeze. I’m in.
It’s fun to be back. I don’t show up much on the media circuit, but some media members know me, recognized me, chatted with me, as I grabbed breakfast and headed to a meeting of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) with the sports editor of the Augusta Chronicle.
“Is this an open meeting?” I asked him. “I’m not a member.”
“You should join,” said the sports editor.
Media conferences today: Adam Scott, USGA, Webb Simpson, Rory McIlroy. But first I will head out onto the golf course and get a look at the storied Donald Ross design.
The U.S. Open has a large economic impact, pumping $69 million into the local and regional economy, according to a public radio report I listened to as I traveled the interstate. The report also said 400,000 people will attend the event this week, or maybe that’s for both the men’s and women’s Opens these next two weeks. No matter, that’s a lot of folks and a large sum for this corner of the Tar Heel state.