Bruno's Blog

Images From The 113th U.S Open At Merion PDF Print E-mail


Although a detailed account of my experiences during U.S Open week are about

to post - here is a sampling of some of my favorite images I accrued along the way.





Nick Watney's switched from Titleist to Nike this year, he missed the cut at Merion .





The Masters Champion on the 17th Sunday.





Mini Wickers in a secret storage area at Merion





Dean Lenerth Assistant Superintendent from New South Wales Golf Club in Austrailia was part of the

volunteer Greens staff at Merion





Cups being cut on the practice green at 4 a.m





T.A and Billy Horshel getting in some work





Tiger watches Rory on the range





Badds on the 1st tee





Sergio and defending Champion Webb Simpson on 17 tee Sunday





The wickers get put to bed





Luke Donald practice putting post round





Sunday before the Open started, view of the ninth green from atop the tenth tee





The fleet of machines at Merion's impressive maintenance compound





The first time I saw this countdown clock in the Greens Dept breakroom, it read around 700 days, here

just days before the U.S Open you could sense the excitement around the club.





Boomer watching the action from below the TV Tower at the 17th tee box





The Mastermind behind the course operations at Merion, and an extraordinary man that I admire and

respect - my friend Matt Shaffer (pictured right).





Tiger switching to Ping? Ofcourse not, but curiousity gets him to check out Hunter

Mahan's sticks on the range at Merion.





I stood next to USGA Director Mike Davis as Phil's pivotal putt on 16 approached the cup, it had to go

- didn't . . . the rest was history.





The Final Scoreboard





Justin Rose accepts and admires his very own WickerBasket










LinksNation Cup PDF Print E-mail



When we started discussions last December about planning the 1st Annual

LinksNation Cup, the first order of business was location and venue. We knew

we wanted to play in Florida since it would be a short two day trip and the

weather in other regions during early March (3rd & 4th) was dreck.


photo Guy Buzzelli

The trinket on the line, a Claret Jug also known as the "LinksNation Cup". . .

just before tee off I dangled this beauty infront of the troops to get them

fired up. Putting hardware on the line is never a bad thing.


Originally a yearly singles match between two close friends and fierce competitors,

it was time to spread the spirit of the competition to our friends and co-workers

(Also truth be told, because of my continuous injuries the last few years and an

obvious deficit in ball striking talent to the young professional, I finally woke up

and realized that bringin a knife to a gun fight was futile. Since I'm not a fan of

consistently being drubbed, what's better than bringing in reinforcements to fight

your battles.)



Always seeking something unique from the usual South Florida Landscape, we

often head just Northwest of Orlando to areas like Clermont, Brooksville, Lecanto,

and Ocala. These locales are largely unknown as a golf destination to many around

the U.S, and surprisingly, many South Floridians also aren't familiar with it's diverse

topography either.

The par 5 - fourth at Pine Barrens, a top 100 track and one of the sites of the 2013 LinksNation Cup


There is a ridge that runs through this section of the state, from Lake Wales on the

south end, where Seth Raynor designed Mountain Lake in 1916, to the rolling hills and

horse country of Ocala. Somewhere between the two is Howey Inn The Hills, where

Mission Inn's El Campeon was designed by George O'Neil in 1917. Famed course

architecht Charles E. Clarke of Troon, Scotland put his refinements on the layout in



A friendly competition was on the slate, and so The First Annual LinksNation Cup was

underway in Brooksville at Tom Fazio's two World Woods courses: Rolling Oaks, and

his ode to Pine Valley-Pine Barrens. Day two was at Mission Inn, on El Campeon.


The downhill left to right 14th at El Campeon




The event format was 54 holes: two man team scramble at Rolling Oaks, two man

team better ball at Pine Barrens, and the final 18 were singles matches. The 12 man

group consisted of friends and co-workers from within the golf industry, divided into

two teams of six players (Team Bruno vs Team Kartrude).




Day 1- The weather just north of Tampa was more reminescent of a ski trip, than golf in Florida - mid

30's when we teed off on Rolling Oaks.



The downhill par 3 - 8th at Rolling Oaks



For those in the group who had previously been to the 36 hole Fazio sanctuary, it

was great to get back to the tranquility and beauty of World Woods. For those who

saw the facility for the first time, they experienced two of Tom Fazio's best designs

in all their glory (except for the freezing temps).

By the end of a long, cold, blustery day at World Woods, Team Bruno had a sizable

lead, but at dinner Sunday night opposing captain Michael Kartrude was channeling

Ben Crenshaw from the 1999 Ryder Cup, throwing out this doozy: "I'm a big believer

in fate, I've got a good feeling about this".


El Campeon was also in great condition, the greens were smooth and the speed a

hair slower than greased linoleum. Mission Inn's marque track just might be the best

course that few know about in Florida. Tough to imagine a layout the pedigree of El

Campeon could exist for nearly a century and not garner more acclaim. A very old

school atmosphere with charm, a great routing and a championship design that will

test the best of players. As it turned out, Kartrude is no Crenshaw (but he did drub

me 3 & 2 in the our singles match). The vets on Team Bruno came through on day

two and thwarted any Brookline (or Miracle at Mediah) like comeback.

Day 2 at Mission Inn, after an early morning frost warning, the chill gave way to a

gorgeous day for golf. From left to right Stevie, Buzz, P.C, Chuck, J.B, Baker, Ken,

Dircky, T.W (cute pants), Chris, M.K & Rich.


The singles were split 3-3, which gave Team Bruno a 7-5 victory and the 2013

LinksNation Cup. World Woods & Mission Inn were the perfect fit for the 1st Annual,

and the courses were in amazing condition . . . Many thanks to Scott Wycoff at

World Woods for accommodating our group.


When all was said and done, a great time was had by all, can't wait for next years



To Team Kartrude - Boy that jug sure looks good in my golf room . . . just sayin.






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