You can buy an oar. An OAR. Why on earth would you even want an oar? Let alone a US Open branded oar?

That’s still not the silliest thing you can pick up bearing the Shinnecock Hills logo in the merchandise tent. Running it close is the nautical compass – for when you plan that sailing jaunt but want a constant reminder of that time you went to watch some golf.

You can have your initials hand stamped into a forged ballmarker. Maybe Seamus will do it for you.

“They’re pretty popular,” he said. “It’s just something different. It’s not the normal laser engraving. It’s all done by hand and each piece is unique and personalised.”

Shop isn’t an adequate description for this consumer metropolis, even though it’s no bigger than what we’ll see at Carnoustie. Unless they are selling bagpipes they’ve lost this battle.

Score: US Open -1, The Open E


Weather forecasts in the US are incredible. If it tells you it’s going to rain between 11.13am and 11.57am, then you damn sure know it’s going to rain between 11.13am and 11.57am. If it tells you it’s going to be glorious sunshine, you better take plenty of sun cream.

In the UK, we’ll be promised 25 degrees and sunshine yet you’ll still need to pack shorts and waterproofs and everything in between.

Score: US Open -2, The Open E


If you want something substantial, you’re not getting much change out of a 20 on either side of the Atlantic, but when it comes to sandwiches and snacks the US comes into its own.

Augusta is famous for its incredibly fair priced food, while here at Shinnecock you can grab a peanut butter and jelly – that’s jam to you and us – sandwich for $3.

And in terms of quality? No contest.

Score: US Open -3, The Open E


Everything you eat here puts you one clogged vein closer to a cardiac arrest so why would liquids be any different?

You can buy a lemonade so large you could actually drown in it. It’s 32 ounces, or two pints. We can already feel our belts straining.

“We sell a lot,” said Melanie at the concessions stand close to the 10th tee. No wonder the queues for the toilets are longer than a Dustin Johnson drive.

At The Open, we’re selling gourmet whiskies and cider out of those glasses that make you look like you’re drinking posh wine. It’s close, but our far, far, far superior beer edges it for us.

Score: US Open -3, The Open -1

The Open has pulled a shot back, but can it catch its US counterpart? Find out on the next page…