by David Shefter USGA
Seen in the Media Center on Monday: 1955 U.S. Open champion Jack Fleck. Fleck visited Bob Harig and Jason Sobel of ESPN.com and looked in great spirits. Fleck recorded one of the all-time great upsets in U.S. Open history when he caught four-time Open champion Ben Hogan and then managed to beat him in an 18-hole playoff at The Olympic Club. Originally from Iowa, Fleck is now 86 and still playing golf. About six years ago, he played golf with Harig in Florida and shot 74.
Also walked around the course Monday and it looks in fabulous shape. You don't want to miss the fairways, espcially in the second cut of primary rough. It is thick and gnarly.
So far, the players are loving the setup. Jason Gore, who was the Prince of Pinehurst when he contended three years ago, said you are rewarded for good shots and penalized for mistakes.
Gore certainly has not let recent celebrity go to his head. He still smiles incessantly and signs autographs for anyone who asks. He will become a father for a second time this September when his wife, Megan, gives birth to a girl. His first child, Jaxon, is now 3 1/2 and already showing aptitude for hitting a golf ball.
I still rank 2005 as my favorite Open because of what Gore achieved. Then again, I've known Jason since he was 14 and his personality has not wavered. He's still the same fun-loving person he was while playing for Hart High in Newhall. That's what makes him special.
Gore played his practice round with local legend Pat Perez and Long Island, N.Y., club pro Mike Gilmore. Perez grew up playing Torrey Pines and wanted more than anything to qualify for this year's Open. He got his wish June 2 when he earned his way at the Columbus, Ohio sectional.