The massive merchandise dominates the U.S. Open Fan Experience area at Shinnecock Hills, but golf fans who wish to experience golf-related activities when they are not watching the pros golf have several other options from which to choose.
They include a putting green; a virtual reality tent where one can view, among other things, Corey Pavin’s 1995-Open winning shot at Shinnecock; and an opportunity to take a virtual shot at the 7th hole and win a two-year lease for a Lexus.
All that is required to earn the car is to make a hole-in-one. At least the virtual green is in better shape than the real one was when it burned out at the 2004 Open.
A visiting reporter took a shot at it on Tuesday morning and came up well short. Perhaps using a 7-iron was unwise.
The area also includes a fan services tent sponsored by American Express at which AMEX cardholders get perks such as free binoculars and a radio on which to follow the action Thursday through Sunday.
Lines were short or non-existent on Tuesday morning but will grow significantly as the week goes on.
Everything is sponsored, of course. (Deloitte is providing the VR tent.) But there is one long-time USGA sponsorship that will benefit those watching on television rather than schlepping to the East End to watch in person.
Rolex’s sponsorship allows Fox to limit commercials to eight minutes per hour during the Open, and none for the final hour of play on Sunday.
All other USGA events carried on FS1 and Fox run completely commercial free.