By Keely Levins
PINEHURST, N.C. -- I stopped by the U.S. Women's Open Merchandise Pavilion, partly to see what had been selling and partly because family members of mine have demanded Pinehurst-logoed gifts. (Don't worry, guys. Those hats are coming.)
What I found was a 39,000-square-foot, air-conditioned sanctuary -- need I remind you it's 100 degrees outside -- lined wall to wall with Open gear ranging from ball markers, to classic hats, to custom Lily Pulitzer Pinehurst printed apparel.
There are a few firsts for this year's merchandise pavilion. This is the first time that there are three logos for sale: men's, women's and a double Open combo. It's also the first time the USGA has been directly overseeing the merchandise tent for the U.S. Women's Open. In years past, outside vendors have been in charge of the operation of all things merchandise, but since the USGA was running the show for the men's Open, doing the same for the women's only made sense.
Mary Lopuszynski, the USGA's senior director for U.S. Open merchandise and licensing, says things are going well in the transition from the men to the women. More women's apparel was brought in and set up at the pavilion's entrance. Meanwhile, wine glasses, tumblers, shot glasses, decanters and coasters have all been restocked. (Yep, anything alcohol related sold out during the men's Open.)
"We were going to reduce the merchandise tent by 40 percent for the women," Lopuszynski says, "but we decided Saturday that we had enough product and we could display it well."
Apparently so. According to Lopuszynski, Tuesday was the best day of sales at a merchandise tent for any U.S. Women's Open.
"I wish we did it every year," she says, "but I think the only way it would happen is if the two Opens were back to back again."Follow @kalevins