This season’s United States Open golf championship will venture to a new part of the country — one that many of the world’s elite players have yet to visit.
But the Puget Sound area is brimming with anticipation for the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place.
So are the local PGA Tour stars.
If there is one U.S. Open that Puyallup’s Ryan Moore, University Place’s Michael and Andrew Putnam, Olympia’s Andres Gonzales, Tacoma’s Troy Kelly and Gig Harbor’s Kyle Stanley want to earn a spot in, it is this one coming in June.
And it goes way beyond a home-turf advantage. It is about hometown pride.
“I’ve thought about this ever since it was known it was coming here,” Kelly said. “Just having all those great golf fans out there, it will be a good tournament.”
Moore knows he will likely be the local face put on this U.S. Open. For starters, he is the only local who has all but guaranteed himself a spot in the tournament by way of his high world golf ranking. And for two years — 2007-08 — he hosted a skins game charity event at Chambers Bay.
“I don’t mind at all,” Moore said. “This doesn’t happen often, so I’ll embrace it and enjoy it. It will bring its own challenges and special attention ... but we are professional athletes, and we are supposed to know how to handle it.”
Moore said over the past few years, a few guys on the PGA Tour have expressed curiosity about Chambers Bay but have not asked in-depth questions about it.
“I am not sure there are a ton of people who know the proximity of it,” Moore said. “Some of the guys know it is in Washington.”
He has not played Chambers Bay since right before the 2010 U.S. Amateur, but he has been kept up on the course’s improvements by his father, Mike.
“The USGA will do what they can to make it the best tournament possible, and pull out all the stops,” Moore said. “My dad has played there in the fall, and he said it was in good shape — the best he’s ever seen it.”
Moore admitted he does not intend to play the course until after the Memorial Tournament in early June. He will return to his house in Lakewood, and spend the following week out at Chambers Bay.
“I have played enough of the holes, but until it gets in tournament condition, it ... does no good playing it between now and then,” Moore said.
The Putnam brothers live right down the street from the course. Like so many of their local counterparts, they want so badly to be a part of this national championship.
“Honestly, it would be the highlight of my career to play in the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay,” Michael Putnam said.