OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It’s a day of mental and physical preparation before the real event starts.
The U.S. Senior Open officially begins at the Omaha Country Club on Thursday, with many premier golfers over 50 years old playing their final practice rounds before the real deal tomorrow.
“Just keep grinding. Who knows what the scoring is going to be like,” said Ernie Els, who’s competing at the U.S. Senior Open.
Golf fans know that U.S. Opens are notoriously difficult, and the U.S. Senior open at the Omaha Country Club is expected to be no exception.
“It’s a medicine this week. Every U.S. Open I’ve ever played, you don’t win it on the first day but you don’t want to lose it on the first day either. You just kind of want to stay in there,” said Els.
Els is no stranger to big golf tournaments. He's won four majors, including two U.S. Opens on the regular tour.
It's his first U.S. Senior Open, and he can already tell the thick rough and fast greens at the Omaha Country Club will wear on the 100-plus golfers competing in the U.S. Senior open this week.
“Some holes you can really be aggressive and go with the driver, even miss it in bunkers or around the green with a driver. But for the most part, what I’ve seen, keep it in the fairway in the USGA event and you are going to be okay,” said Els.
Eight years ago, Kenny Perry played nearly perfect golf the final two days to capture the 2013 U.S. Senior Open in Omaha.
He re-lived that weekend when he was on the course Wednesday.
“Today was more of a reminiscent day for me. I was telling the guys I play with, what I hit on this hole, I remember the Sunday pin placements on a lot of the back-9 holes. So I was kind of living in the past, in 2013, which put a smile on my face,” said Perry.
Perry says the course is now tougher. The greens are faster, the rough is thicker.
“I haven’t seen anybody even attempt to hit a shot out of that heavy grass. And move it more than 150 yards,” said Perry.
Most players seemed to agree that the ones that do well are going to have to take their lumps, and overcome them, if they want to be on top of the leaderboard Sunday.
“The game of golf is more about misses than really great shots,” said Perry.
All the action starts early Thursday, with the first golfers teeing off at 7:15 am. Still, there’s going to be golfers at the Omaha Country Club all day long.