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Jun 16, 2013 | 10:36 AM

Scoping Out Mickelson

Visit the merchandise tent behind the 17th green at the U.S. Open this week and you might have run into Phil Mickelson. No, not the fan favorite and 54-hole leader heading into today’s final round, but his dad, Phil Sr., whose company, Mickelson Group, Inc., manufactures Sportscope, a periscope with a zoom feature that sells for $80. He’s been making them for about eight years and came up with the zoom feature himself. Because of the tight confines for the gallery at tiny Merion, the device came in really handy this week and were “selling like hotcakes,” said Phil Sr., who was dividing his time between the tent and watching his son play. Chances are he won’t be spending much time in the tent this Father’s Day with his son set to win his first U.S. Open. If there’s any justice in this world, many in the gallery will be looking through their Sportscopes around the 18th green as the Phil Jr. sinks the winning putt to finally claim that elusive national title after a record five runner-up finishes.

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Jun 14, 2013 | 05:36 AM

Apps For The Open

With yesterday’s wild weather and the usual close battle likely, you don’t want to miss a minute of U.S. Open action from Merion over the next few days—and perhaps even into Monday. You don’t have to now that the USGA is offering free, user-friendly apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. The apps have been updated, especially the one for iPad, with more information on players (scorecards, stats, starting times, etc.), as well as detailed information on every hole. All the apps also feature live HD video streaming, real-time scoring, updates, news, and photos. There’s even the option of receiving updates on favorite players sent directly to your mobile device. Apps are downloadable from iTunes and the Google Play Store. Of course, there's always the TV. 

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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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