Fortinet Championship

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The Loop

The Loop

The most amateurs in 25 years

June 13, 2007

Although the King (Arnold Palmer) won’t be playing at Oakmont this time around  — Arnie shot 77-81 and missed the cut in ’94 — you will see a Duke (Ken), as well as a Palmer (Ryan) this week on the course.

Seven, the number of majors Arnie won in his career, seems to be a central theme in this major. Among the 156 players in the '07 U.S. Open, there are seven former U.S. Open champions, seven former U.S. Open runners-up, seven former U.S. Amatuer champions and seven former NCAA Division I champions. Tiger Woods is the only one able to say he has accomplished all four.

At Oakmont, from the first Green (Nathan) to the last, the conditions will be firm and Fasth (Niclas). You won’t witness many players Cink (Stewart) downhill putts. If someone happens to Block (Michael) his tee shot and ends up in the rough, he’ll certainly need an Ax-ley (Eric) to get out. The number of players under-par will be Small (Mike).

Small, the head men's golf coach at the University of Illinois, knows what it is like to see high-level amateur golf. This year's U.S. Open will be no different. There will be 12 amateurs competing — the most since 1982. The youngest, Richard Lee, is 16 and he plans to turn pro after this week.

Although there are Weekley (Boo) events on the PGA Tour, this tournament is like nothing Els (Ernie). It will be a Daley (Joe) grind for even the best players.

Play will begin at 7:00 a.m on the first and tenth tees on Thursday, with a purse of $7 million.

-- Jeff Patterson