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you kidding?” and “Hey, we’ve been standing here all day!” With a rare exception,

writers kneel down and ignore the wise-guy com- ments. At times, walking can be tough, especially in hot, humid weather. And, by the way, when

golf concludes at the end of the day, we return to the media center and work, often staying past 10 p.m. That said, the USGA

Washington, D.C. The fi rst two rounds ran from dawn until dusk. U.S. Open venues now

resemble small cities, boasting everything from a post offi ce to a travel center. There are dozens of corporate hospitality tents and a merchandise tent that could hold the Ringling Brothers Circus. You name it, they sell it, everything from key chains and stuffed animals to periscopes and framed artwork. What distinguishes

the U.S. Open from other majors is its size. If you follow a marquee player like Woods or Phil Mickelson, you must walk ahead or settle for a glimpse in gal- leries 10-to-12 deep. Many writers receive

armbands that allow limited access inside the ropes. While this is much ap- preciated and necessary for setting the scene and atmo- sphere, it can also be a pain. No matter how courteous you are, some fans simply can’t resist yelling com- ments like, “Down in front!” “Working press? Who are

36 / NCGA.ORG / SUMMER 2011

takes good care of the writ- ers, providing free shuttle service to the course from a designated media hotel, along with a full breakfast, lunch and snacks every day. Ice cream and popcorn are served each afternoon and disappear quickly. The British Open,

the only major contested outside the United States, is

played in July and is my fa- vorite of the Big Four. It ro- tates between six and eight courses, features the most challenging weather, and has the heartiest and most knowledgeable fans. They come early, leave late and appreciate the skill and luck involved in taming links courses. Often, it’s a family affair, with several genera- tions attending together. It is a little-known fact that the tournament never sells out. That’s because organizers—the R&A— don’t limit ticket sales. You can walk up on Sunday afternoon of the fi nal round and won’t be turned away. The food takes some getting used to—unless you’re big into bacon sand- wiches—and the cheese- burgers taste different. But the fi sh and chips are good,

and so is the tuna baguette. The people-watching is

fabulous. There is no better setting than the Old Course at St. Andrews, where the town is mere steps away from the 18th green and the shops stay open late. It’s a great walking town, and like most British Open venues, it’s always comforting to see the locals walking their dogs. The tough part about

covering a British Open is getting around. There are no shuttle services, so you are on your own. Given the small roads, driving on the left side of the road in a car with a steering wheel on the right side can prove challenging, especially if your car has a clutch. Most veteran writers have broken more than one side view mirror. While the U.S. Open and British Open start with 144

U.S. Open Media Center As a cub reporter, the best advice I ever received was never forget


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