Jun 13, 2013 | 08:26 AM

Comfort in the Storm

Based on the dire forecast, it could be a day for the ducks today at Merion (or worse if there’s hail and wind). A good day, perhaps, to curl up with a good book. Like Jim Finegan’s epic labor of love, A Centennial Tribute to Golf in Philadelphia, published in 1996. He includes this observation by Pete Dye, who penned a tribute to Merion East in Golf Journal on the eve of the 1981 U.S. Open: “Merion is a wee wisp of golf’s ancestral land spirited away to a Pennsylvania valley….The building of it must have presented an awesome challenge to Hugh Wilson. The gently rolling farmland chosen for the site in no way resembled the rugged tide-swept linksland he had studied. Yet he so thoroughly grasped the basic concepts of English and Scottish courses that he was able to reproduce many of their characteristics.” Dye concludes with this: “Merion asks the golfer to enjoy its classic beauty, but it demands his alertness, his golf knowledge, his courage and his finest ability. Merion is not great because history was made here. History was made here because Merion is great.” Hopefully the weather is dry enough by the weekend to bear out this truism.

12:15 PM Update: Play is back under way at the 113th U.S. Open. Radar (above) looks good for the rest of the day.

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Jun 12, 2013 | 08:42 AM

The Virtual Open

Another year has passed and once again your dreams in playing in the U.S. Open were shattered, but you do have the chance to play virtually. Running for the fifth year in a row, the World Golf Tour and the USGA have teamed up to recreate Merion Golf Club to present their "Virtual U.S. Open." Prizes for the 2013 Virtual U.S. Open include a dream trip for two to the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 as a guest of the USGA and multiple gift cards for U.S. Open merchandise. The top 156 scores plus ties by June 30, 2013 (right now to make the cut you’d have shoot a 57 or 13 under) will advance to the Virtual U.S. open Championship rounds in July to crown the ultimate virtual champion. More than two million rounds have already been played in the 2013 Virtual U.S. Open, and you thought qualifying for the real U.S. Open was tough!

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Jun 11, 2013 | 09:41 AM

Marshy Merion

Much of the pre-championship chatter this week has centered on the Doomsday Scenario, what might happen if torrential rain were to submerge various holes on Merion’s East course. The answer is that holes from the club’s West course would be brought into service. But what if something worse were to happen? For instance, what if, on the eve of an Open at Southern Hills, a tornado were to destroy the course? What if vandals were to torch all 18 greens at Pebble Beach? Is there a formal contingency plan—a yearly “go-to” course designated by the USGA in the event of emergency? No. Should there be one? It’s a question worth addressing.

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Jun 10, 2013 | 01:33 PM

Hosts With the Most

When it comes to USGA host sites, it doesn't get much more old school than Merion, which has hosted more USGA championships with any other (19). But the next couple of U.S. Open venues at Pinehurst and Chambers Bay are anything but that. At Pinehurst, the U.S. Women's Open will shockingly taking place the very next week, while first-time host Chambers, located in Washington State, will be the first links-style U.S. Open (current temps, 83 and 67, respectively). After a return to a mainstay at Oakmont in 2016, the national championshp goes new school again with Erin Hills in Wisconsin. The U.S. Open might always conclude on Father's Day, but this is not your father's U.S. Open.

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