ARDMORE, Pa. —
The one thing Merion couldn’t control was the weather. Rain that soaked Merion early in the week and softened the course stayed for the first two days. Rain also fell Sunday.
The compact course was a bit of a logistical headache for players. The driving range was about a mile away on the West course, forcing players to take a shuttle to their starting tees. But the event went off without any major incidents.
The U.S Open is locked into sites through 2020.
Tamed by Merion, Tiger Woods expected the course to land another spot.
“I’m sure it will come back,” Woods said. “It could definitely host another major championship. But I don’t know if USGA wants to. They make a lot of money on other venues.”
Rory McIlroy lobbied for a return visit.
“Some guys want to keep that 30-year gap going just because it’s beaten up on us so much,” he said. “But I think it would be great to have it back here.”
Fans seemed to have little trouble weaving their way through the crowds. The USGA capped ticket sales to about 25,000 a day, well below the average of 40,000 daily tickets at most other venues. Folks who lived in the stately homes lining the perimeter of Merion threw open their doors for a giant block party. And when it rained, fans flocked for cover at the merchandise tents.
“It was a fantastic atmosphere, the people were into it,” Woods said. “Obviously, there weren’t as many people as some of the U.S. Open sites. But this was, I think, more intimate. People were very close to you.”
Volunteer struck: Luke Donald’s errant tee shot on the third hole struck a volunteer in the elbow. Sara Clark, a standard bearer, was hit in the left elbow and knocked to the ground near the bunker. She needed an ice pack at the medical tent before she was released. Clark did not return to the course. The USGA said most standard bearers range from 14 to 21 years old.