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Sports

Competitors, Volunteers And Spectators Enjoying Pinehurst

The 16th Hole of Pinehurst No. 2 as seen in Pinehurst, N.C. on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012.
John Mummert
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USGA
The 16th Hole of Pinehurst No. 2 as seen in Pinehurst, N.C. on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012.

The men's U.S. Open tees off Thursday morning in Pinehurst. One hundred and fifty six golfers from around the world are competing in America's version of a national championship.  Most of the golfers participating in the event practiced for a final time Wednesday. Hundreds of volunteers helped keep fans corralled throughout the historic Pinehurst No. 2 course.

Jeff Chaffin drove to the course from Suligent, Alabama (near the Mississippi border) for his first U.S. Open experience. He says his experience has been good so far.

"Easy to find a parking place, got here quickly, lines were short getting in, been able to get in the grandstand very easily, lines were acceptable at the concessions stands. Everything has been really good," Chaffin said.

Bob Wilson's bucket list included "volunteering at the U.S. Open". His wife Ann drove with him in their RV from Michigan. "I should make a bucket list too," she said with a smile.
Credit Jeff Tiberii
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Bob Wilson's bucket list included "volunteering at the U.S. Open". His wife Ann drove with him in their RV from Michigan. "I should make a bucket list too," she said with a smile.

Roughly 670 volunteers are working the event, including Bob and Ann Wilson. They drove their RV 850 miles from Rockford Michigan. He's working in the merchandise area this week.

"I am absolutely amazed by the level of organization, the layout, the planning, the execution, and the tournament hasn't started yet. It's just awesome the way the U.S.G.A. has this set-up," Bob said.

The United States Golf Association (U.S.G.A.) is holding the men's and women's tournament at the same location in consecutive weeks for the first time ever.

U.S. Opens inevitably frustrate, challenge and test the patience of its competitors.  In all, 156 men have been practicing on the restored course this week. They haven't found traditional rough (tall grass) but fast putting surfaces remain. Bubba Watson won the Master's earlier this year and is one of the best players in the world.

"All in all it's a good challenge, it's a good test. That's what we want, we want a good test. You know it's not really about score. We've been saying that the last few years - it's not really about score. I don't care if I shoot 400 for four days. If I win, I win, I don't care what the total is," Watson said.

Par on this course would be a four-day score of 280. And if Watson is near or below that number he will almost certainly be in the hunt. Justin Rose will try to defend his 2013 title, something no golfer since Curtis Strange in 1989 has accomplished. The first groups tee off Thursday morning at 6:45am.
 

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