Today was the local US OPEN qualifier at one of the five sited being used in Northern California. Ruby Hill Golf Club (shown below in pictures) is a great course, long (over 7,400 yards in length) and usually quite windy. One would say even par would be adequate to move on to the sectional qualifier, and that would be WRONG. Even a fine round of -1 71 would sadly be looking at the scoreboard wondering what course the “other” guys were playing.

There are 5 qualifying sites in Northern California with a total of 406 amateurs and pros that paid there $150 to give the Open a try. Of the 406 only 27 will advance to the sectional qualifying site where the odds are even longer. Keep in mind only 156 of the best players in the world play in the US Open. The sectional qualifier in California will typically have about 78-88 players for a whopping 4 spots. So just think of the odds, of all the qualifiers from the Northern side of California, there may be ZERO qualifiers advancing. And why is that so…? Because the Sectional qualifier will have PGA & NATIONWIDE STUDS PLAYING.

Even our very own Joseph Bramlett has to go through local qualifying at Half Moon Bay, just to make the sectional qualifier. Joseph DID play in last years US OPEN and got his PGA tour card. So far in 2011 Joseph has played in 11 events (everything he can get into) and currently is 191 on the money list with $71,371 in official money. I’m sure this is not the start Joseph had hoped for, but one good week can get him heading in the right direction. Here is a young man with IMMENSE talent, and he is barely cashing any checks.

Folks, this is a tough way to make a living, and of the 406 guys that will tee it up in this qualifier, I’d say about 15 have even a remote chance of getting to the BIG SHOW- THE OPEN. Personally I’ve made it through the local open qualifier 11 times (about 1 in every 3 tries) of the 11 sectional qualifiers I’ve been in the hunt 4 times (both times at Olympic in 87 and 98) and the closest was in 1982 when the open was at Pebble Beach I was 1st alternate (which is why I decided not to turn pro) I played my brains out, only to have 4 guys beat me by a shot and miss the open.

BUT man have I had fun trying to get into the premiere event in golf (I think the Masters is a close second). But today I knew I didn’t have it even before I tee it up. Yesterdays practice round was sloppy and since my ass whipping in Florida at Seminole, I haven’t been the same. My tempo and balance are off, and I’ve lost a lot of confidence. I tried to rally late today, only to hit it OB on an easy par five to end the battle with an arrow to my heart. Actually I take these local qualifier defeats quite well, as I know it saves me the trouble of getting my ass whipped at the sectional site by guys that make their livings hitting it 300 yards straight, hitting there irons on the green, and making LOTS of putts. If you don’t do all those things, then enjoy the game and play amateur golf like I love doing.

I really don’t mean to beat the dream out of any young aspiring pros, but the last two years I’ve been paired with two pros and both times I finished lower than them in the qualifier. I can’t imagine how that would feel if I had amateurs beating me in these qualifiers, and I thought I could be successful against the guys that hit all the shots and putts and are FEARLESS.



Not much to say about my pathetic 77 today, nothing good happened, I hit the driver abysmal, the irons horrendous, and the putter off speed. So what am I going to do about it…..well after a few scoops of Ice Cream, I decided to go to the gym and see if I can get the balance and core a work out. I don’t site around long brooding over poor rounds, you either suck it up and work your ass off, or you accept mediocrity and  know the next time out will probably be just as bad!

So with that said, I’m rooting for all the Northern California guys (27) that will advance and I hope we see a few of these guys in the OPEN this year.

Stay tuned for more on the Olympic Club for the California State amateur

Par 3 fourteen over a tree fronting the green
2nd shot uphill into the breeze at #16
The pin was far right today on #15 you can see the hazard on the right gaurding the green
#18 this is the view of the second shot into the par 5 18th hole with the clubhouse in the background
The long walk up the stairs from 15 to 16 tee box, you'd better be in shape!!


  1. Randy,
    I fully understand your frustration. I have been there. Tournament golf is very demanding physically and mentally.
    Would it not be more satisfying for you to cut back on tournaments and just have fun playing at Olympic?
    Roddy Gray

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