Everyone at The Country Club in Brookline grabbed anything they could to prove they attended the U.S. Open in the pandemic’s final round.
The merchandise was in such demand people were taking shirts off the mannequins.
“You took that off the mannequin?” a stunned staffer said inside the mammoth merchandise tent.
“Another guy did,” the guilty shopper said.
It was a madhouse. People were scrambling for T-shirts, hats and long-sleeve windbreakers to keep warm as the wind whipped and this mid-June day felt more like early fall. Even the announcers mentioned the swag tent.
“We’re in rare air,” said Alex Farrer, who works for Dewar’s Scotch Whiskey.
He was referring to his brand being named in the official cocktail of the U.S. Open, but there was more to his sentiment.
The sold-out tournament infused a shot of economic adrenaline into the region, with golf enthusiasts flying in from all over to just get out of the house while remaining in the continental United States.
They lost luggage, missed flights, called babysitters and really couldn’t care less because they could walk it off watching pro golfers put on a show. There was a small protest outside the gates early on for the LIV team members bankrolled by the Saudis, but poster boy for that scandal Phil Mickelson didn’t make the cut, so fate caught up to him.
It also made Saturday’s round all the more enjoyable.
That official cocktail, by the way, is the “Dewar’s Lemon Wedge” made with the Dewar’s Scotch Whiskey, lemonade, club soda and a lemon wedge. The master blender for Dewar’s, Stephanie MacLeod, explained she performs her magic using mostly her “nose.”
“My nose recovers faster,” she said, opting to taste her work only at the right times.
The Herald was invited to sit in the Dewar’s corner on the 15th hole, but walking the course talking to fans was the place to be.
For a former caddy, this reporter grew up sweating through rounds lugging golf bags in the heat. But it also proved to be an apprenticeship at the crossroads of business, recreation and sport.
“A good golfer has the determination to win and the patience to wait for the breaks,” said golf great Gary Player.
That was how it felt in walking along in Brookline and watching Jordan Spieth capture the imagination of the crowd and pulling them out of the merchandise tent, if only for a few minutes.
BROOKLINE, MA – JUNE 18-SATURDAY: The gallery behind the second green watches Brooks Koepka chip from the fringe onto the green during the third round of the US Open at The Country Club June 18, 2022, in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Connors/Media News Group/Boston Herald)