by David Shefter USGA
OK, my wallet is officially lighter. Just returned from the monstrosity known as the U.S. Open Merchandise Tent. The structure is larger than a football field and there's enough clothing and memorabilia to outifit a small country. What's nice about visiting the Merchandise Tent in the morning is beating the crowds. You can at least move around without bumping elbows with other customers. I try to get in and get out as soon as possible. I pretty much knew what I needed to purchase. My wife asked me to pick up a few things for a friend in Arizona and I needed to buy something for my daughter, who turns 5 next week. I must say the selection for children's attire has improved exponentially over the last five years. I used to walk in there and find next to nothing. You might see some shirts and hats, but that's about it. Now there are many items for kids, especially young girls. I actually had some tough decisions to make. I exited the tent spending less than $200. Not bad.
The morning is also a good time to visit the other exhibits on the grounds. The American Express Experience and Lexus Performance Drive tents did not have long lines. Folks can have a picture taken with the U.S. Open Trophy at the Lexus tent along with hit a drive on a golf simulator. The American Express tent offers a trip down memory lane with historic exhibits and videos. Both tents are a definite must for Open spectators, but just get there early to avoid waiting in line.
Well, off to the golf course.