Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Van Sickle Waiting for Spot in the Field

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Van Sickle Waiting for Spot in the Field

Article excerpt

Mike Van Sickle first played competitively at Oakmont Country Club more than a decade ago, as a part of the C.R. Miller Match Play Invitational. The winner of the tournament received a trophy but for Van Sickle, there was always a greater prize to be had.

"The best thing about the tournament was if you won a match, you got to play Oakmont again," he said with a smile.

Van Sickle's golf career has moved on from that point, when the simple pleasure of playing his hometown's crown jewel of a course resonated so much.

Though he has played almost 500 courses in 34 states, the allure of Oakmont has never waned.

Now, at age 29, he is on the verge of returning to the course for a tournament that's as large and important as any in which he has ever played.

Van Sickle, a Kennedy resident, is among a handful of alternates waiting to find out if they made it into the field for this week's U.S. Open at Oakmont. On Sunday afternoon, he expressed confidence that he'll make it, based on some numbers crunching and information he had been told by people around the course.

"I think a couple of years ago, I would have been all over the place in this situation," he said.

"Now, I got married two years ago, I have a 4-month-old. The perspective changes and you get a little more laid back when it comes to other things like this, when it doesn't pertain to the life and death of a child. I'm raising a little human. Whether or not you get in the Open or not . this is sort of a dream-come-true situation to maybe get in."

Van Sickle's path into the tournament hinged on more than a few different variables, but many of them fell in his favor.

Gary Woodland and Fabian Gomez both missed the cut at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis and, at the same tournament, Ryan Palmer, Francesco Molinari, Charles Howell III and Matt Jones were far away from the spots they needed to reach to break into the top 60 of the world golf rankings and dash Van Sickle's dreams. …

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