Geoff Sisk has received a fair amount of media attention since surviving sectional qualifying for this week’s U.S. Open — not because pundits believe he has a chance to overtake Tiger Woods and the other big names vying for the trophy at Merion Golf Club, but because the Massachusetts resident, as the AP’s Doug Ferguson put it, is the embodiment of this country’s national championship.
The 48-year-old from Marshfield made it into this week’s soggy field outside Philadelphia for the seventh time in an up-and-down 25-year career that has taken him from six Massachusetts Open titles to a season on the PGA Tour (1999) and several years in golf’s minor leagues. He did so by making it through a local, 18-hole qualifier at Plymouth’s Pinehills Golf Club and a grueling 36-hole sectional grind in upstate New York — his sixth time as a qualifier.
“To play in seven US Opens, with six of them having to go through local qualifying…it is a great accomplishment. I’m very, very pleased with it,” Sisk told the Boston Globe’s Michael Whitmer.
Despite making it to the dance for the seventh time, Sisk wondered why he seemed unable to achieve more success on the big stage.
“Obviously I’m not where I want to be, playing in state opens and trying to find ways to make a living,” he told Whitmer. “I want to be back on the [developmental tour] or the big tour and get accustomed to everything again: television, the fans, the amount of money that you are playing for, and seeing what I can do with what I’ve learned over the years.”
Perhaps, with a return to his college stomping grounds (he went to Temple University) and an Ardmore, Pa., track he played in the 1989 U.S. Amateur, 2013 will be his year. Realistically, of course, Sisk is a long shot to make it into the weekend, though he has made the cut twice before.
“Obviously, I would like to play well. It would give me a little more money in my bank account, and I could go out and try more Monday qualifiers and see what happens,” Sisk, who had to pass up a chance to win his seventh Mass Open, which is taking place this week at Newton’s Woodland Golf Club, said to Whitmer. “Maybe I go back to [qualifying school] to see if I can get my status again.”
After all, as Sisk told the Lehigh Valley Express-Times, he had “nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“If I finish last, I finish last. If I finish in the middle of the pack, then fine,” he said. “If I make some extra money then I can go try some qualifiers. I’ve done it all at the U.S. Opens. I’ve shot in the 80s, mid-70s, not in the 60s yet. Three-putts, four-putts, I’ve had it all. All I can do is go out and do the best I can.”
Emily Kay is a regular contributor to New England Golf Monthly. You may follow Kay on Twitter @golfexaminer