For Temple alum Geoffrey Sisk, being back in the field for his seventh U.S. Open is special enough. Qualifying when it’s taking place at historic Merion, about 15 miles from where he played in college, makes it truly memorable
But the 48-year-old has no illusions he’ll be any kind of a factor this week, even if players are forced to play some of those famed holes in scuba gear. He’s only made the cut two times in his previous U.S. Opens.
“Hopefully I play well,” said Sisk, who shot a 4-under 68 in his June 3 qualifying round to punch his ticket. “I have nothing to lose in this whole situation and everything to gain.
“If I finish last, I finish last. If I finish middle of the pack, then fine. If I make some extra money, that’s great, too.”
Sisk tied for 30th at Pinehurst in 1999, 15 shots behind winner Payne Stewart. In 2003, he shot a 70 at Olympia Fields outside Chicago. For the most part, it’s been a struggle for the man who played four years on the Nationwide Satellite Tour and just one stint (1999) on the PGA Tour.
“I’ve done it all at the U.S. Open,” said Sisk, who will be paired with amateur Cheng-Tsung Pan of Taipei and Canadian Mackenzie Hughes the first two days. “I’ve shot in the 80s, mid‑70s, not in the 60s yet. Three‑putts, four‑putts, I’ve had it all.”
Sisk hasn’t played at Merion since he was an amateur in the late 1980s.
“It’s nice to be back in this area,” said Sisk. “I played the golf course here back in ’88 athe U.S. Amateur. Played one practice round and one tournament round. But I remember quite a bit of the golf course.”
No matter what happens at Merion, Sisk will be facing some tough decisions. He’s considering trying the Champions Tour when he turns 50, but that depends on the level of his play and the financial commitment he’s willing to make.
Or he may just keep doing what he’s been doing since his Temple days when he used to play Whitemarsh Valley and other local courses as much as possible.
“I know it’s going to be difficult,” said Sisk, when asked about Merion. “All I can say is that this is a great venue, and it’s going to be exciting.”
And hopefully by Thursday, and the rest of the weekend, dry.
Around the course
Woods, Garcia shake on it
Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia are at least being cordial.
The two golfers shook hands during a brief exchange at the driving range prior to Monday’s practice round. When asked for comment after the handshake, Woods said, “I’m not going there.”
Woods and Garcia had been feuding in recent weeks after Garcia made racially-charged comments. Both men are scheduled to address the media in separate press conferences Tuesday afternoon.
Rain won’t be big problem
Heavy rains halted play several times Monday as the world’s best golfers descended on Merion.
Tournament officials sounded confident there wouldn’t be any problems this week. Merion is one of the best draining golf courses, largely because it’s not built on sand.
“It is maybe the best draining golf course I have ever seen,” said USGA executive director Mike Davis.
Lots closed, ride SEPTA
U.S. Open officials are suggesting spectators ride public transit.
Inclement weather led to the closing of designated parking lots, including Rose Tree Park in Media. Fans were asked to use the PPL Park lot in Chester and wait for free shuttle buses.
SEPTA, via the Regional Rail and Norristown High Speed Line, are options. The Ardmore Avenue Station is within walking distance.