OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Eight years ago, the Omaha Country Club hosted the U.S. Senior Open with roughly 14,000 fans attending. The United States Golf Association refers to that year as their bell cow.
Starting Monday, the U.S. Senior Open is back at the club, with some of the most popular golfers in the world coming to the metro.
“Omaha Country Club provided a really good test in 2013 and certainly that was one of things that had us interested in coming back again,” said Hank Thompson, senior director of the Senior Open.
The U.S. Senior Open is back in Omaha, with many popular golfers, all 50 and older, playing in one of the biggest tournaments on the Champions Tour.
“Being able to come back here and seeing the fans that are going to come throughout this week actually gives us a lot of energy,” said Thompson.
The USGA made the decision months ago to plan for half capacity, so 7,000 fans are allowed daily.
No grandstands are on the course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see top-notch golf up close.
“Because of the limited number of fans that we could see, there are just some really good views just from the rope line that might not have been there in 2013 due to the number of people that were here,” said Thompson.
Fans seem impressed at seeing the likes of Bernhard Langer and Jim Furyk practice before the official start on Thursday.
“Seeing these guys up close and in person, it’s incredible. I’ve watched these guys since I’ve been grade school age,” said Stu, a fan attending for the time.
Some fans are targeting specific golfers who they want to see hold the trophy.
“Vijay Singh winning," said Shirley Briley.
Briley, unlike some first timers, has seen a lot of golf and plans on camping out on the tenth hole all week.
“I’ve been to 50 golf tournaments. I’ve gotten my grand slam in St. Andrews in ‘15, I went to the Masters in ‘16,” said Briley.
Tuesday is supposed to be hot, so the USGA is allowing fans to bring in water bottles, 32 ounces or less on that day.
They also have hydration stations to refill them.