June 3, 2008–Adam Scott, one of the best players in the world and a former UNLV golfer, was already exempt for of the US Open, to be played June 12-15 at Torrey Pines in San Diego, but he was the only golfer with ties to Las Vegas golf who was in the field. Any other Las Vegas golfer who wanted to tee it up at America's national championship would have to survive local or sectional qualifying to get in, and fortunately for us Las Vegas golf fans, several have, including Henderson native Craig Barlow (pictured), who finished 26th at the 2006 US Open. The US Open is a special tournament for Barlow because he realized he might be able to play the game at the highest levels when he qualified for the 1994 US Open as an amateur. Others qualifying for the '08 event were Henderson resident Nick Watney and Summerlin resident Dean Wilson, former UNLV golfer Chad Campbell, and Scott Piercy, who grew up in Las Vegas and won a million bucks at the 2007 Ultimate Game at Wynn Las Vegas. Tommy Armour III, who grew up in Las Vegas but now lives in Texas, is an alternate. We will be covering the US Open live from Torrey Pines and will bring you the stories of these Las Vegas golfers.
Several other Las Vegas golfers attempted to qualify but failed including Charley Hoffman, Skip Kendall, current UNLV Rebel Seung Su-Han, Michael Putnam, Robert Gamez, Ryan Moore, Mike Ruiz, Warren Schutte, Kevin Marsh and Alex Cejka.
The best finishes for Las Vegas golfers at the 2007 US Open were turned in by Wilson, Putnam and Campbell. Wilson finished in 51st while Putnam was 55th and Campbell was 58th. The event was played at Oakmont.
Torrey Pines opened in 1957, and this will mark the first time the US Open is played at the course and the first time in 60 years the US Open will be played in the area. There is potential for the 515-yard, par 4, 6th hole at Torrey Pines to become the longest par 4 to be played in the history of the US Open. The USGA reserves the right to determine final hole yardages, but the hole is listed as the longest in US Open history in the official media guide. The 504-yard, par 4, 12th hole is listed as the third longest in history.
Mike Davis, USGA Senior Director of Rules and Competitions, says he believes a long, high ball hitter will have the best chance to win in 2008, and that the course will play a little more straight forward than other US Open courses.
"I think if you look at Torrey Pines versus, say, a Pinehurst, Oakmont, Wingfoot, Bethpage, Pebble Beach, this is different," Davis said at the US Open Media Day on May 12 at Torrey Pines. "If I had to categorize this, I would say this will be perceived as a longer, because it is going to be a longer golf course than what they generally see. I would also say it's a little bit more straightforward. Torrey Pines really doesn't have many blind shots. The fairways, generally speaking, the putting greens, don't have crazy undulations to them where it's really hard to keep the ball on the fairway or on the green. So I think from a player standpoint, they'll see this as a little bit more straightforward. Some players love that.
"Thinking back to last year at Oakmont, there were some fairways there that, while they may have been very wide, they were incredibly undulating. We just don't have this here at Torrey. The other aspect at Torrey that will be wonderful – several aspects – but it's great, as I said, in coastal California. You can almost dial in the golf course setup because you don't have rain influencing the golf course setup like it does so many other venues. So in theory we can get this thing exactly how we want it versus most other venues, we just don't have that opportunity because we don't know what Mother Nature is going to give us."