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U.S. Open Blog
Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Sectional Qualifying Thoughts

by David Shefter   USGA

You have to give Brad Faxon at least an "A" for effort. Most guys would have walked off after 18 holes, slammed the trunk and headed down the highway. But not Faxon, despite opening with a 9-over-par 79 at Old Oaks Country Club in Purchase, N.Y. Faxon was playing competitively for the first time since undergoing knee surgery in December. His last "official" PGA Tour event was the Wyndham Championship last August, although he did compete in the Shark Shootout and played a round at Tiger Woods' Target World Challenge Pro-Am in the fall/winter. Faxon explained that he had to keep going because he isn't going to get himself in "game" shape by playing practice rounds with buddies. So he grabbed some lunch and headed back out for the afternoon 18, where he shot 77. I wish more professionals had the same attitude as Faxon. Even when he was playing poorly, he had the integrity and professionalism to complete the 36 holes. In fact, all 65 players who started at Purchase finished 36 holes, which has to be a first. Well, it's the first time I have seen it.

That's more than I can say for the professionals who opted not even to play in the 36-hole sectionals. Shame on any locally exempt golfer for not at least making the effort, especially for American-born players. This is your National Championship!

Kudos to the Metropolitan Golf Association for conducting the Purchase, N.Y., sectional in a professional and efficient manner. The MGA set up a plasma television in the grill room for players and spectators to get updated 9- and 18-hole scores. The MGA also put that scoring up on its homepage to allow for people not at the qualifier to at least follow along. A couple of other associations had similar scoring set-ups, including Georgia State, Metropolitan Amateur (St. Louis), Chicago District and Northern California for the Roswell (Ga.), Augusta (Mo.), Lake Forest (Ill.) and Lake Merced (Calif.) qualifiers, respectively. You would not believe the amount of e-mail we receive at the USGA regarding pairings and scoring for local and sectional qualifying. A lot of people, including myself, are deeply interested in this stuff.

Finally, congrats to all of the sectional qualifiers. Good luck next week in San Diego. For some of these golfers, it might be their first and only trip to the U.S. Open. Enjoy the experience. The memories will last a lifetime, no matter what score you post.

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