As a child, Wes Short Jr. dreamed of competing in the U.S. Open. Short fulfilled his dream this past weekend at age 52, playing in the 116th U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania.
Although Short shot 14-over 154 at the tournament, missing the cut by eight shots, he found satisfaction getting to play in the national championship.
“It’s nice to be on this side of the ropes and being watched on TV instead of doing all the watching,” Short told Hook’em.com. “Then you get to experience it to see how hard it really is. The TV sometimes doesn’t do it justice because it doesn’t always look that hard.”
Short went into the week having never played Oakmont, a course that is arguably one of the toughest in golf. He managed to play nine-hole practice rounds Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, which helped him become more familiar with the course. Short played his first practice round on Monday alongside fellow Austinite and Longhorn Scottie Scheffler.
“It was a lot of fun to play with him,” Short said. “He’s a very good player, very strong, he hits it so far and it doesn’t look like he puts that much effort in the swing and you get up there and his ball is way in front of me.”
Although Short managed to play three practice rounds, he knew he’d have to play well to make the cut. This proved to be difficult.
Short shot a 78 in his first round on Friday finishing with a birdie on the 18th. He improved his score on Saturday shooting a 76 with three birdies. The third hole, a par-four, gave Short trouble in both rounds. He shot a triple-bogey seven on Friday, and Saturday shot a nine on the 426-yard hole.
Regardless of how Short played both rounds, he managed to beat out 23 of the 156 U.S. Open competitors – an impressive feat considering he was the oldest in the bunch.
“Even though I played terrible, I enjoyed it,” Short told Golfweek. “You know, the course was tough. I now realize why even par usually wins the U.S. Open. Any mistake you make, it really kicks you.”