US Open Practice Rounds About Food, Family

By Chris Gordon
|  Wednesday, Jun 15, 2011  |  Updated 6:30 AM EDT
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Chris Gordon reports from Congressional Country Club.

Chris Gordon reports from Congressional Country Club.

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The golfers take these U.S. Open practice rounds seriously not only because there's so much at stake, but because Congressional is a challenging course. They may play a couple of balls to get used to the greens here -- but when they walk from hole to hole, some players slow down long enough to autograph the souvenir flags.

Lina Crowley, who came with her father and her brother, Johnny, got autographs from Chad Campbell and David Toms. She didn't know them, before but says she'll be their fan from now on.

Some golf fans are bringing their families introducing the game to a new generation.

Kim Shovlain brought her young daughter and son, saying they don't play golf now, "but we hope that they will. They actually enjoy watching it with us. So we brought them out."

Dan Davis brought his three sons. "I want them to see what it's all about," he said.

The 18th hole at Congressional is where the U.S. open may be decided on Sunday. Seats here will be at a premium, and this area will be very crowded with the championship on the line.

There are 30 corporate tents at the U.S. open and the Champions Pavilion, with tables sponsored by businesses to entertain their customers. All of the catering is done by Ridgewells Catering, which has a long history with the USGA.

Susan Lacz, the CEO of Ridgewells, says they've been doing U.S. Opens all around the country since 1993, "so it's no coincidence that we're catering it here in our own back yard."

This event is bigger than than the inaugural parties they cater. "We're going to feed roughly 30,000 people this week," Lacz said. "We've hired over 350 employees from the various culinary schools and we'll do about $3 million in business this week."

Ridgewells may be the big winner at the U.S. Open. The golf champion gets about half that. But for local fans, having the U.S. Open in the area is priceless.

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