U.S. Open Experience Coming to Independence Mall
For first time, USGA offers golf fans chance to enjoy national championship away from the course
Adding to the growing excitement around the 113th U.S. Open Championship at Merion Golf Club, the United States Golf Association today announced a special fan experience that will bring golf’s national championship to life in the heart of historic downtown Philadelphia.
In conjunction with USGA partners American Express, Chevron, and Lexus, The U.S. Open Experience at Independence Mall opens Monday, June 10, featuring interactive educational exhibits, an official U.S. Open merchandise store, and other unique opportunities for fans in the Independence Visitor Center.
The action moves outdoors for the weekend of June 15 and 16, with live big-screen golf coverage, authentic USGA bleacher seating, and simulated playing opportunities where fans can create their own memorable golf shots. Weekend hours of operation are from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. both days. All activities are open to the public and are complimentary with the exception of concessions, merchandise and parking/transportation.
“Philadelphia’s fans hold a special place in their hearts for the game of golf and the U.S. Open, and this newly developed experience is meant to recognize that incredible passion and loyalty,” said Sarah Hirshland, USGA Senior Managing Director for Business Affairs. “We hope that in creating this downtown celebration we are providing fans with an opportunity to be a part of the spirit and excitement of the game’s finest championship.”
Independence Mall is a three-block section of Independence National Historical Park (INHP) in Center City Philadelphia bounded by Chestnut, Race, 5th and 6th Streets. Buildings on the Mall include the National Constitution Center, the Independence Visitor Center, and the Liberty Bell Center.
24-hour fully enclosed parking is conveniently located underneath the Independence Visitor Center, providing access to Independence Mall and other area attractions. The site is also accessible via SEPTA and by PHLASH - the purple trolley system offering an easy and affordable way to visit many of Center City’s key points of interest.
The 2013 U.S. Open Championship will be the fifth contested at Merion Golf Club, and the first since 1981, when David Graham of Australia won by three strokes over George Burns and Bill Rogers. Merion also was the site of Ben Hogan’s historic 1950 U.S. Open triumph when he returned following a near-fatal automobile accident in 1949. Hogan’s 1-iron approach shot to the 72nd hole remains one of the Open’s iconic moments. He would win the title the following day in an 18-hole playoff over Lloyd Mangrum and George Fazio.
Olin Dutra claimed the first U.S. Open at Merion in 1934, while Lee Trevino defeated Jack Nicklaus in a playoff to win the 1971 Open. Merion is also where Bob Jones completed his “Grand Slam” in 1930 by capturing the U.S. Amateur.
In all, Merion has hosted 17 USGA championships, more than any club in the U.S.