Jun 17, 2013 | 08:18 AM

The Science of Golf

One of the cool exhibits on display for the spectators at Merion last week was a tent explaining the science of golf. If you didn’t make it to the U.S. Open, NBC has produced an ongoing series of videos, available for viewing on the web, that cover topics such as the physics of the swing, friction and spin, water conservation, the evolution of the golf ball and clubs, even how a handicap is calculated. The videos were produced by NBC for the USGA and one of its sponsors, Chevron. Do your homework and maybe you’ll make it to next year’s Open venue—Pinehurst No. 2—as a player. Okay, maybe not: It is science after all, not voodoo.

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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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