Christina Tanunliong and her husband, Marc, had traveled from Las Vegas to San Francisco to see their very first U.S. Open tournament in person. And the couple managed to see some of their favorites — Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods — during the past four days, even staking out seats at the 18th green in hopes of spying some dramatic moments.
But instead of witnessing the final shots at that very spot, the two opted to leave the Olympic Club on Sunday afternoon for San Bruno’s Tanforan mall where they could grab lunch and watch the last two players — Graeme McDowell and Jim Furyk — complete the course.
“It’s a better view,” Tanunliong said of watching the match on TV. “If you don’t have a spot early, it’s hard to see. And when all the big players come through, the ground kind of rumbles, there’s so many people.”
The 112th U.S. Open drew thousands of people to San Francisco. The tournament provided spectators with free shuttles from the Colma BART station and Candlestick Park. Shuttle officials said many fans arrived as early as 5 a.m. to ensure a good spot on the course.
By Sunday, the warmer weather that engulfed the Bay Area was blown out by the hovering fog, dropping temperatures at the course to about 60 degrees.
The fog and the wind were the reason Check Tan, 66, left the course in the middle of the day. Tan said he wasn’t dressed properly and therefore he opted to leave the course for warmer confines of his San Francisco home.
For Tom Alsen, 50, driving from Portland, Ore., to catch the U.S. Open was not an option; it was more of a tradition. Alsen has been to more than a dozen golf tournaments — including the U.S. Open and the Masters — since 1996.
Alsen says he’s a huge fan of Woods. In addition to copies of all the newspaper headlines from the towns in which Woods has won titles, he’s even got a photo with Woods’ mom. His greatest golf moment, however, involves John Madden and a signed Ben Hogan putter during the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in 2000.
“And then I got to play on the green with it,” he said. “It was about a half-hour after Tiger teed off.”
Watching some of golf’s greatest play live provided great memories for Christopher Conway, 43, but he said being able to share it with his sons on Father’s Day made it that much better.
“It’s a fun event,” he said. “It’s unlike any thing else.”