During Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Pine-Richland graduate Mike Van Sickle received a call telling him he had qualified for his first U.S. Open. The Kennedy resident described the feeling as relief.
“You don’t want to say dream come true because there’s still a lot of work to be done this week,” said Van Sickle. “I’m not out here to show my face and leave Friday. I’m here to try to further my career, have a great week, show what I can do and match my skills against the best.”
This is the eighth time Oakmont has hosted the Open. Van Sickle has played the course many times before. He says Oakmont’s unique, fast greens make it attractive to other golfers.
“I think that’s why that they think that this course is so much fun is because it’s a challenge that they don’t ever see.”
A course like this doesn’t allow for a lot of mistakes.
“It demands your A game all day long,” said Van Sickle. ‘If you don’t bring it, it’s going to bite you.”
Due to injuries, Van Sickle got a later start to his golf career than most professionals. Now 29, he said he has become a wiser player with age. He went pro in 2009.
“I’m very fortunate that my sport is not football,” joked Van Sickle. “Guys play until their mid to late forties.”
Playing at home, Van Sickle said he has had a lot of friends, a lot of love, and a lot of support through the tournament.
His dad, Gary Van Sickle, will also be at Oakmont. As Sports Illustrated Senior Golf writer, Gary is used to attending these tournaments, but is excited to see his son compete. Mike said he learned most of what he knows about golf from him and hopes to catch his eye.
“The opportunity to play well and have him write something about me, that’s a dream come true.”
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