Jumpabola Pragmatic

U.S. Open trophy takes a tour of San Diego golf courses

The U.S. Open trophy doesn’t have the same cachet as the Stanley Cup. For one thing, it doesn’t even have its own Wikipedia page.

But the history of the Open trophy is almost as long; it dates to 1895, or two years after the hockey championship trophy was first awarded.

And, while the original Open trophy was lost in a fire in 1946, its replacement is still something that’s meaningful for golf fans, who will see it awarded again Sunday at Torrey Pines.

“Oh, there it is,” Hughie Thomas of Solana Beach said Sunday morning when the trophy was brought out for display at Balboa Park Golf Course (with its handler wearing white gloves). “It’s beautiful. Can we get our picture taken with it?”

Hughie Thomas of Solana Beach poses with U.S. Open trophy Sunday at Balboa Park Golf Course.

Hughie Thomas of Solana Beach poses with U.S. Open trophy Sunday at Balboa Park Golf Course.

(Jay Posner / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

That was the idea behind the United States Golf Association taking the trophy to Balboa and Mission Bay, San Diego’s two municipal golf courses where the Open will not be played this week.

“It’s great that we can play the U.S. Open at a municipal course,” said Craig Annis, USGA chief brand officer. “We want to celebrate that with the other municipal courses in the area. Municipal golf plays an enormous role in our game. Without it we wouldn’t be able to have the impact we have on the game.”

In honor of the 121st U.S. Open, the USGA also donated 121 rounds that will be divided among three military courses: Miramar Memorial, Sea ‘N Air in Coronado and Marine Memorial at Camp Pendleton. The trophy was scheduled to visit the Miramar course on Sunday afternoon.

Grant Strobel, the head pro at Miramar, was present at Balboa to get a photo with the trophy and his 3-year-old twins, Ben and Jack, who then headed over to the putting green for some practice.

No fans were permitted at the last U.S. Open, in September at Winged Foot in New York. The USGA sold about 8,000-10,000 tickets for each day of this year’s tournament.