My Sunday began with a drive north again towards Dallas. To be exact I went to Arlington to watch a Texas Rangers Match at the Globe Life Field.
Before the game I went into Texas Live next to the stadium for a drink. The girl next to me in a Rangers shirt looked very expert like, so we started to chat me asking how this all works.
At the Texas Live there is always music and party before and after the game with the 100ft big screen. So the DJ at some point started with a game. The rules are simple, the person who is visiting from the furthest away gets 25$ for drinks at Texas Live.
So the girl I was chatting with directly said “do you have your paspoort? You gotta get down there, you easily win coming from Germany”
Well she got me so far that I went down to the DJ which up to this point had the furthest away with a person from Florida. He asked where I am from and I said Germany and showed my passport. And yes he first couldn’t believe it. So he declared me winner and started to interview me what I was doing here. Well I told I was here for the US Open qualifying and that I am professional and……all of a sudden I realized that the whole thing was displayed on the big screen!
To give you an idea, the Texas Live arena has about 15.000 people in there that watched me give an interview on the gigantic screen. And the arena was fully packed that day. I had still not really realized what I had gotten me in to.
After the interview everybody in this place somehow wanted to have a chat with me. People giving me high fives, people shouting “good luck, win the us open”. At that point I realized that 15.000 people all of sudden knew who I am! And it didn’t stop, it went on like that the whole day. Even after the game begun there where people that wanted to take pictures with me in the stadium. Out on the street cars passing by shouting “good luck tomorrow out of the car”
It is so cool how the people here in Texas are so enthousiast about a German golf professional. And the thing is it doesn’t matter to them if you win, they already give you credit for playing and trying. For them it is already an achievement that you just do it!
And yes, I am a bit famous already in Dallas now, at least I have 15.000 fans! Plus all the other people that I met during my trip and on the GolfCourse.
The Baseball game was fantastic to watch. What a great atmosphere. I would say this is by far the best sport event I have ever visited and I have really become a fan. So after the game I stayed a few more hours at Texas Live for some pizza and some drinks. (Coke as I had to drive, I have probably had about 100+ liters of coke in the last two weeks)
And then again the people here in Texas. The waitress could remember me from the week before and when I left gave me a big hug and said she was looking forward to when I will be back.
So with 15.000 new fans and a big good luck hug I drove up north towards McKinney to my hotel for the Night.
And then it’s Monday, gameday for me. After two years I finally play the US Open qualifying. And even I didn’t qualify I actually played very good. (Although the score was a bit higher, but that had a reason)
On the first tee again the starter called my name and other than the other qualifying I wasn’t any nervous. Actually I was quite confident and started with a Par into my first ever US Open.
On the first holes I hit a lot of greens and the Tee shots where all good and on the fairway. The only difficulty was to get used to the super fast greens and the pin positions. Well the USGA is known to set up courses fair, but in the hardest possible way. The pins are placed at unbelievable difficult spots and that made me 3 putt twice making two bogeys where I had hit the green. So I was 3 over through 5 holes. But from that point on I got the trick. You actually only can score in this conditions when you leave yourself uphill putts. With pins that unbelievable difficult I have never seen before you really have to position the ball good to have a chance of making putts.
And that started to work out. On 6 I made a birdie, seven par, a bogey on 8 where I had missed the fairway a bit, but another par on hole 9 giving me a 39 on the front nine. Not the worst start.
On the back nine I really had the Putter going making only 13 putts on those nine holes. I had to lay up on 10 as I missed the fairway left which gave me another bogey, but I hit my approach on 11 to 5ft from the hole making another birdie again. So that was a good bounce back.
On 12 I miss the birdie after a good approach from 15ft by just few inch. I save my Par with a long Putt on 13 and nearly chip in on 14 making another Par. Especially my short game and putting was really in US Open mode as I made everything under those difficult conditions.
Then where came hole 15 and 17 which really went wrong. On both holes the Drive was good, but on 15 I hit a tree on my second shot, then I make a bad shot into the water, hit the green with my approach, but the ball goes over and down the green next to a tree, recovery from there, chip two putts for a 9! Well I must say the biggest problem was I couldn’t really remember the hole from the practice round and it is a tricky par 5 with trees in the way and I couldn’t remember anymore that it goes severe downhill behind the green. I think one practice round is not really enough. If I had known the hole I would have played to totally different spots and chosen different clubs. The same is the double bogey on hole 17. Another Par 5. I wanted to lay up my second shot in front of the water that you cannot see at that point And I think I had played the lay up with a five iron during the practice round. So I played a five and the ball was hit like I wanted to, but it was longer than I thought and rolled into the water. That made me play a double bogey.
Those two holes only had cost me 6 shots, so you can understand why I am actually happy with my round. It was actually only two bad holes as I played very good on the other holes. On 16 I safe bogey with a long putt from a difficult spot and on 18, well I finished my first US Open with a Par putt from 10ft.
In total I made a 82 which is not a fantastic score maybe, but it actually is just two bad holes where I must admit I didn’t really have a clue on how the hole looks like. The rest especially holes 6 to 14 and 18 I really played fantastic. I mean I was 3 over after 5 holes and still 3 over after 14, so that means I played 9 consecutive holes in Par on a US Open set up which is the hardest you can play.
The overall experience was fantastic, the organization of the tournament is excellent done by the USGA and I had a lot of great conversations with the officials after my round. It is organized in such a professional way to absolute perfection. I must say, the US Open is golf as it should be played. And even I didn’t make the cut for the next round I was very proud of myself of playing in my first US Open.
And I don’t think it will be my last as it is such a great experience I will definitely go for again.
After the round and some chatting in the clubhouse I hit the road again driving all the way down south to Houston.
So today I finished my US Open trip with playing a course where in 1969 the US Open has been played. Champions Golf Club at Houston is one of only 3 courses in Texas that have ever hosted the US Open in Texas. It is a very private Golf Club and has hosted the 2020 US Women’s Open as well.
Jack Burke is the owner of the club that has 450 members and is members only, and he is the oldest living Major Champion at age 99.
So I played the US Open Cypress Creek Course at Champions golf club today. wow what a fantastic course. Again the layout and maintains of the course are far beyond everything I have ever seen in Europe. The course is in such a fantastic shape you cannot imagine without having played it. It is an absolute privilege that I was allowed to play.
And yes a real US Open Course is so tough. I played from the back tees except of two Par 3s which are so brutal that I choose to play those from the silver tees one ahead of the back tees. The course is over 7450yds long at a Par of 71 and every hole is tough. Tough but fair. The greens are lightning fast and difficult. Again I putted great as it seems that I have really got used to those excellent fast difficult greens. So I holed a lot of putts.
And when I approached the 18th tee I realized even more that I was playing the 1969 US Open Course. What a great round of golf and a fantastic finishing round for my trip here in Texas. So I hit the fairway on the 18th with a good drive, hit a hybrid into the green side bunker and hole another long putt on the green.
What a way to finish this 16 day long adventure in Texas.
The crew on the course was fantastic again and after a chat with the lovely nice lady in the pro shop I again jumped back into my Jeep to drive back to Dallas.
So I headed back to Texas Live for some food and some more coke as this place has become my favorite spot to go out. On the screen I could watch few innings of today’s Texas Rangers game and relax a bit after I have driven 2890 miles over the last two weeks all across Texas.
And now I am back at the hotel here in Arlington and everything is packed as unfortunately I have to fly back to Europe tomorrow. But I will be back for sure and who knows maybe at some point stay here as Dallas is the best place on earth I have ever visited and I am totally in love with it.