By Rachel Jones
Oakmont Country Club is rolling out the red carpet on its greens for the 2016 U.S. Open Championship. The 116th annual major competition, conducted by the United States Golf Association, pits elite golfers and amateurs who qualify against the course and each other June 13-19. Since hosting its first U.S. Open Championship in 1927, Oakmont Country Club has produced winners like Jack Nicklaus and Angel Cabrera, and earned an international reputation for its iconic, challenging course. “It’s lived up and passed the hype it already receives from everybody,” says Jordan Spieth, who won the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. “What a great test of golf and a very fair, but tough, test of golf.”
At press time, the event was already on track for its 30th sellout in a row, welcoming over 30,000 people per day to the championship. To accommodate the crowd, the USGA added 16,000 grandstand seats along holes 15-17, including more fan-friendly tip-up seats, to catch the exciting final moments. Guests can also enjoy Spectator Square, complete with an oversized jumbotron to watch live coverage, food, merchandise, and a replica of the 18th green open to spectators — complete with your own Oakmont caddy!
To build the excitement for the big show, the United States Golf Association (USGA) has launched a series of community-focused events called Open For All™. Take in the Learning Science Through Golf/STEM Education exhibit at Senator John Heinz History Center and the American Golf History: Coming to Life at Carnegie Science Center May 2-June 19; tackle the most memorable 18th holes in U.S. Open history with the Epic Putt Challenge, held at select DICK’S Sporting Goods locations every Saturday between May 14-June 11; and follow the U.S. Open Trophy Tour, powered by Lexus, which stops at PNC Park for the Pirates game June 11.
It all makes for a great time to be a fan of golf and a resident of Pittsburgh. The USGA anticipates $140-$170 million in economic impact from the U.S. Open, according to Janeen Driscoll, USGA director of public relations. This includes direct, indirect, and induced spending all associated with the championship, including volunteers, spectators, players, vendors, the USGA, and regional businesses. “Any opportunity we have to put Pittsburgh on this kind of stage is something we can’t miss,” says VisitPittsburgh CEO Craig Davis. “Pittsburgh is such a beautiful city, and showing this course does a lot for us for tourism.”
+ Catch the U.S. Open Championship on FS1 and FOX, or at usopen.com.