U.S. Senior Open opens for business a day early - Omaha.com
Published Monday, July 8, 2013 at 12:30 am / Updated at 1:54 pm
Omaha can't wait
U.S. Senior Open opens for business a day early

A small city of gleaming white tents rising from a former cornfield near 72nd and State Streets has attracted Omahan Tim Peskey's attention for some time, and on Sunday, he investigated.

Not much of a golfer himself, Peskey said he was aware that the Omaha Country Club will host the U.S. Senior Open this week. What most interested him, however, was the amount of construction activity in his neighborhood.

“It's been pretty neat watching the tents and all the big equipment starting to show up,” said Peskey, who is a carpenter. “Just seeing what I see as I pass here every day, you realize this is going to be a really big deal.”

Peskey and his wife visited the tournament's 10,000-square-foot merchandise tent to pick up some memorabilia.

Dozens of tents dot the grounds. Some are educational, such as the Chevron Stem Zone, in which the science of golf is explained. Others are sponsored by corporations to promote their products or to cater to special guests.

“Just looking at everything from the outside, this is amazing, because you can tell they are getting ready for a ton of people,” Peskey said.

Nick Piccirilli

Nick Piccirilli works for the Bruno Event Team, which has managed numerous events for the U.S. Golf Association, the tournament sponsor. He said a steady stream shoppers began arriving shortly after the merchandise tent opened at 9 a.m.

This marks the first time the USGA has ever offered merchandise for sale to the public before a championship event began, Piccirilli said. A typical merchandise tent is about 5,400 square feet, he said.

“This is probably the largest Senior Open (merchandise) tent that we've ever had. There's been such a large interest for everything here in Omaha that we decided to experiment and have a pre-championship grand opening for the public.”

No golf clubs are available for purchase — the USGA doesn't want to play favorites, Piccirilli said— but just about anything else a golf fan can imagine is under the big top, all stamped with the event logo.

The inventory includes wide-brimmed hats, ball caps, visors, T-shirts, collared shirts, shorts, umbrellas, coffee mugs, towels, water glasses, chairs, stools, pictures of the course and sweatshirts that double as blankets.

Steve and Joann Dickmeyer of Lincoln have attended at least 10 large golf tournaments, including the Senior PGA Championship earlier this year in St. Louis.

If the merchandise tent is any indication, they said, Omaha can expect a first-class event.

“We got out of church this morning and, boom, we were up here,” Steve Dickmeyer said. “There is really a nice selection of stuff here. The (merchandise) tent in St. Louis wasn't even half this size.”

His wife, whose favorite players are Fred Couples and Fred Funk, figured the couple would spend between $100 and $150. She spoke while checking out ladies apparel as her husband and son, Drew, trailed along.

See hole illustrations, insight from course pros, photos and video from every hole and more in our Senior Open course guide.

“There are a lot of different things here,” she said. “This definitely rivals the regular (PGA) Tour merchandise tents that we've seen at (events) across the country.”

Pat Budler of Kearney was one of more than 3,000 volunteers who received a 15 percent discount on tournament merchandise during a special event Saturday. He returned Sunday with his daughter and two grandchildren after having “done some serious damage to his debit card” the day before.

Budler said he was wearing his prized piece of memorabilia: a ball cap with the tournament logo on the front and his last name on the back. The cap will be a memento of what promises to be an exciting week, he said.

“I was at Des Moines (for the U.S. Senior Open) in 1999, but I think this is going to be more memorable, because it's here in Nebraska,” Budler said.

Some visitors to the merchandise tent knew exactly what they wanted.

Chris Myhre, who was shopping with his wife, Deda, showed off the three items they bought.

“I've got my hat, a T-shirt and shot glass,” he said. “I mean, what else do you need?”

Contact the writer: Kevin Cole

kevin.cole@owh.com    |   402-444-1272    |  

Kevin Cole covers workings of police, courts and government and writes features about interesting subjects in Omaha and the surrounding counties.

Tim Miles: Tarin Smith an 'impact' player for NU
Mav women sign center
UNO's Guentzel named NCHC rookie of month
Murren leaves Huskers for Wayne State; Tvrdy to CSU
Huskers land Chicago-area receiver who 'fell in love with everything' in Lincoln
USDA official tours Waverly ranch as disaster assistance program begins
Teen facing Nebraska murder charge to get mental tests
Attorney: Man accused of trying to open plane's door needs psychiatric evaluation
49-year-old sentenced to 40-50 years for attempted sex assault of child
Hearing on proposed UNL budget cuts draws fanfare, 1 comment
Brothers looking for pot sentenced for violent home invasion
Message board installation to shut part of EB I-80 near Lincoln
At Boys Town panel, experts stress it's never too early to educate children
Jon Barker replaces Hayneedle co-founder Doug Nielsen as chief executive
Benefit aims to buy $16,000 all-terrain wheelchair for Norfolk hunter
Kelly: New $24M UNO center embodies spirit of newlywed crash victim
Gov. Heineman calls 2014 a 'very good year for Nebraska taxpayers'
Ex-Iowan behind landmark free speech case recounts story in Bellevue
Section of 50th Street to close for bridge demolition
Nikko Jenkins found guilty of 4 murders
Father joins effort to change Iowa's handgun age limits
Body found in Hitchcock County ID'd as missing 18-year-old
Saying ‘stranger danger’ doesn’t always work, instead be direct with your child
Board paroles Iowa inmate imprisoned for decades
Recipe: Six steps to a succulent spring turkey

Deadline Deal thumbnail
Shoreline Golf Club
$40 for 2 Players, 18 Holes of Golf with Cart ($85 Value)
Buy Now
< >
Blog: Dirk's 'Mad Chatter'
Dirk Chatelain offers his thoughts on the latest news from around the sports world, complete with links to the best articles, opinion columns, YouTube videos and more.
Civic Auditorium Timeline
World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel asked readers for their favorite memories of the Civic Auditorium. We combined their submissions with a few key events or moments in the auditorium's history.
CWS: Banner Years
The College World Series historical database, a growing home for historical information about past NCAA baseball championships, which have been played in Omaha since 1950.
Downtown Omaha event map
Discover the area surrounding the CenturyLink Center, TD Ameritrade Park and downtown Omaha -- including restaurants, arts & entertainment venues, hotels and local retail outlets.
Facebook: Tom Shatel's page
Get Tom Shatel's sports columns delivered straight to your Facebook feed.
Follow Tom Shatel on Twitter
Get instant analysis and commentary from World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel on Twitter.
Nebraska high school basketball's greatest night
Four elite teams. Two buzzer-beaters. One packed house. On March 11, 1989, the stars aligned and produced the best night in Nebraska high school basketball history.
Shatel's blog
Check out the latest from World-Herald sports columnist Tom Shatel.
Shatel: Tom's Take on 20 Unforgettable Years in Sports
Get World-Herald columnist Tom Shatel's book "Shatel: Tom's Take on 20 Unforgettable Years in Sports."
Super Bowl: Through the years
The Super Bowl is a yearly media madhouse. See how The World-Herald sports section's front pages portrayed each of the Super Bowl victories won by those players celebrated in our Mt. Rushmore of Super Bowl QBs.
Talk sports with World-Herald reporters
World-Herald reporters log on to talk about the latest news surrounding the Huskers, Jays, Mavericks, high schools sports and more. Check out the upcoming chat schedule or replay the latest discussions with the fans.
The disappearance of small-town football
Friday night lights across rural Nebraska are going dark. But one town, in its last season of gridiron independence, proved that school spirit is stronger than ever.
The Nebraska 100
In an historic 2005 series, The World-Herald selected the state’s all-time top 100 athletes. In a new web exclusive, see the digitized collection for the first time.
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »