Hot Items Abound In U.S. Open Merchandise Tents

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The fact that Merion Golf Club sits on only 126 acres of land doesn’t just make for a shorter golf course; it makes for smaller-than-desired merchandise tents – one of the biggest money makers at tournaments.

As opposed to one 36,000-square-foot pavilion, this year’s U.S. Open was forced to erect a main pavilion at 24,000 square feet, and then two other tents to make up the remaining 12,000 square feet. Not ideal, but it’s working just fine.

Officials reported record sales in the week leading up to the Open. The main tent opened to the public June 6, a week before competition teed off, allowing non-ticket holders a chance to scoop up some gear. Then the ticket holders for the practice rounds swarmed in beginning Monday, when rain helped sales even more.

Mary Lopuszynski, senior director of licensing and merchandising for the USGA, estimates that nearly 100,000 hats and 60,000 shirts will be sold. And the tents will go through just about all their inventory before the tournament is over.

Yet if you’re not in Philadelphia, you can always shop online. What to buy? The contrast-collar striped polo shirts are quite nice, as are the official tournament posters. They also sell embroidered flags. Is that ironic considering the Merion course uses wicker baskets instead of flag sticks.

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