BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Under cloud cover with the sun finding ways to peak through the "swoosh" and "ping" of drivers launching tee shots to fairway destinations filled the air at Saucon Valley Country Club on Tuesday for a practice round before the start of U.S. Senior Open.
But that wasn't the only activity at the club as players took in some fly fishing on Saucon Creek in their free time.
There was heat and humidity as well as Lancaster native and Manheim Township Alum Jim Furyk on the Old Course at Saucon as the former Blue Streak preps to defend his title.
Up until a few weeks ago, Furyk had never played at Saucon Valley, though he has always been aware of it.
The chance to tee it so close to home has him excited.
"To be coming back to Pennsylvania to my home state only a few hours from where I grew up, it will be a lot of fun," Furyk said with a smile at the media podium, just off to the side of the club's swimming pool.
On a day like this, one may be tempted to take a swim, but for Furyk in between chips and putts, the 2003 US Open Champ greets the fans.
One group loudly proclaiming that "the entire Pottsville brigade" is behind him. Come tournament time it is expected that a lot of faithful from the Lancaster area is expected to show up and be in the gallery which only adds to the pressure.
"It can go one or two ways," says Furyk. "You can really enjoy the love and support and being in your home state or you can put to much pressure on yourself and have it go the other way. I'll probably try to enjoy the week and have some fun with it and see some faces in the crowd I don’t get to see to often."
Coming of the U.S. Open at The Country Club outside of Boston last week, and now on a tough Old Course at Saucon, the defending Senior Open champ ready for the stress both mentality and physically.
"[The]U.S. Open puts a lot of stress on you both physically and mentally. This one is not going to sneak up on me," Furyk says with a smile. "I already went through it last week, it is just a matter of having your game in good shape playing well."
Furyk's title defense started with an 8:34 AM tee time on Thursday.