OAKMONT (KDKA) – At long last, the U.S. Open has returned to Oakmont and the world’s best are tackling the course.
On Thursday, 30,000 spectators were expected to converge on Oakmont Country Club for the opening round.
The first groups teed off at 6:45 a.m.
Rain moved through the area last night and even more drenched the course Thursday, halting play three times. It was also quite humid this morning as crews prepped the course.
“We have our umbrellas and our ponchos,” Nuala Donnelly said.
All the rain turned the breathtaking course turned into a muddy mess. It was frustrating for both the golfers and the spectators.
“It acts like it’s going to start, we’re going to play again, then it rains, and goes back and forth,” said Scott Dibble, of Mars. “But it’s nice to be out and about.
“The course is beautiful, looks perfect, and then we’re getting rained on every half hour, hour,” added Todd Important, of the South Hills.
They quickly moved the players to safety when storms hit.
But what do you do with thousands of spectators?
Well, they allowed the regular folks to seek shelter in the private hospitality suites. Others sought shelter in the merchandise tent where it was raining shirts, caps, cash and credit cards.
Meanwhile, experts are already saying scores could be similar to the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont, which Angel Cabrera won at 5 over par.
As for the fans, they couldn’t be more excited to have a front row seat.
“It’s hot. I can seriously appreciate what these guys do – professional golfing. It’s a whole other ball game when you’re not at home on the couch watching,” Joshua Ingram said.
“As a local event, it’s a phenomenal course, phenomenal venue. Just to see the world’s best players on our door step is a phenomenal opportunity,” Iain Keir said.
Ed and Andrew Jimenez came in from Florida to watch Ricky Fowler.
“It’s wonderful. It’s everything you would imagine when you see it on TV. Today, we will get to really watch it, will follow Ricky on every hole so it will give us a different perspective,” Ed Jimenez said.
Jalen Griffin and his father have been to a few U.S. Opens before, but never at Oakmont. So, this was a road trip worth taking.
“I’ve heard a lot about it for a while. I’ve been a golfer for eight years or so. So, it’s great to come out here. It was kind of a spontaneous trip with me and my dad, so thought it would be fun. Good Father’s Day kind of thing,” Griffin said.