Eric Steimer, 2017 U.S. Open championship manager,
points toward the golf course where tents will be set up
for this year's tournament Wednesday at Erin Hills Golf
Course in the town of Erin.
Nicholas Dettmann/Daily News
TOWN OF ERIN — A puzzle with seemingly a million pieces
two years ago is coming together with only a few stray
pieces left on the table.
Thursday marked 60 days until the first day of practice
rounds for the 117th U.S. Open men’s golf championship
at Erin Hills.
practice days are June 12-14 and the championship rounds
are June 15-18.
Organizers can see the proverbial light at the end of
“It’s definitely getting exciting,” said Eric Steimer,
2017 U.S. Open championship manager. “We always talk
about milestones with this championship, whether its
signing the agreement, being two years out, one year
out, once the prior year’s U.S. Open ends and even as we
kind of look ahead, March 13 was a big date for us
because that was the day we started construction.”
latest milestone in the journey to the first day of the
U.S. Open happened Sunday.
The 39,000-square-foot merchandise tent is seen on the
grounds of Erin Hills Golf Course on Wednesday in the
town of Erin. Thursday marked 60 days until the start of
Nicholas Dettmann/Daily News
Sunday at The Masters Tournament at Augusta National
Golf Club in Georgia, Sergio Garcia defeated Justin Rose
on the first playoff hole to win his first major in 72
major championship starts.
Coming off the heels of a first-time major winner with
an exciting finish helps pump up the excitement for the
“I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait,” said Jeremy Kirst, head
pro at West Bend Lakes Golf Course. “I need to go
somehow, someway. I’m going to find a way to get there.
This is huge; this is bigger than Whistling Straits,
because it’s not an hour, 10-minute drive — it’s a
half-hour from my house.”
Steimer said he was watching his Twitter feed Sunday
night as The Masters neared the end and saw Erin Hills
“There was a stream of constant, ‘can’t wait for Erin
Hills,’” he said. “Or, ‘I just bought my tickets.’” Erin
Hills has been closed since the end of last season to
help preserve the course. Steimer happily reported
Thursday the course came out of the winter season in
“(The course) came out looking spectacular this fall,”
Steimer said. “The rain and now that it’s starting to
warm up a little bit, grass is going to start sprouting
up pretty quickly.”
Construction of tents and grandstands was supposed to
start March 13, but several inches of snow forced a
two-day delay. Since then, there have been several other
weather- related delays, but nothing too concerning.
Everything is on track to be ready for the U.S. Open to
ever be played in Wisconsin since the first tournament
was played in 1895.
“Sixty days out is definitely exciting,” Steimer said.
“There’s still work to go, but we’re in a great spot
right now, particularly on the construction side which
is where our focus is right now.”
Reineking, the course superintendent at Erin Hills, and
his staff have worked diligently to maintain the beauty
of the course, such as the fescue grass.
haven’t seen him stop smiling,” Steimer said.
the storylines, Kirst said, will be there. Some of those
include will Dustin Johnson, the defending event
champion, defend his title after getting injured before
The Masters? How will Jordan Spieth do after playing at
Erin Hills in 2011 as an amateur? Will Garcia make it
2-for-2 in majors in 2017?
visit to the course now will show several tents being
constructed, including the 39,000-square-foot
merchandise tent, along with the interactive fan
experience area. In total, there will be about 400,000
square feet of tents and 500,000 square feet of flooring
for patios and walkways.
scattered throughout the course are viewing tents and
soon grandstands. Some chain-link fences have been set
up, which will be used for security.
Steimer said he guesses the USGA will use a record
amount of fencing, about 18 miles worth — roughly the
distance from West Bend to Hartford.
“It’s pretty incredible to see this all come together,”
“It’s kind of like putting together a puzzle,” Steimer
Steimer reported ticket sales have been brisk since they
went on sale about this time last year. Tickets for
every day of the tournament — practice and championship
rounds — are still available.
gallery ticket for the first day of the practice rounds
is $50, a gallery ticket for the final round is $125 and
a gallery ticket for the entire tournament is $450.
was announced in 2010 Erin Hills would get the U.S.
Open. For many involved in the process, that long, long
wait is almost over.
“It’s going to be fun,” Kirst said.
<<EARLIER: Options dwindling for hotel stays during U.S.
Open at Erin Hills