No ticket needed Sunday for opening ceremonies and merchandise tent

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UNIVERSITY PLACE — Judging by the crowds waiting to get through security lines and onto shuttles, and the packed merchandise tent, you might have thought the U.S. Open had already started at Chambers Bay.

The public was invited to attend a Kickoff to U.S. Open Celebration on Sunday, the first of more than a weeklong list of events, connected with the championship that runs June 18-21. Practice rounds are on tap the next three days.

Tom O’Toole, president of the United States Golf Association, officially christened the event after a flag raising was performed by soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Weather forecast

Monday at Chambers Bay: Mostly sunny, high of 84 degrees, with a 5-10 mph wind from the NNE.

O’Toole noted how happy the USGA is to bring the national championship to the Pacific Northwest for the first time.

For Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, who also spoke at the event, it was a moment she has been waiting for.

“This is special, just to be able to celebrate and to say we’re kicking it off.” she said after the ceremony. “It’s going to be fabulous and there’s going to be so much exposure.”

McCarthy said she has no doubts the championship will run smoothly.

“The USGA, they’re the consummate professionals, and they’ve just done a phenomenal job,” she said. “They know how to do this, this is the 115th (U.S. Open). They’re so good at it.”