Most of us will never play private Congressional Country Club, but during the 2011 U.S. Open, even well-heeled members won't get a tee time. Instead, the world's best players take over the famous Washington, D.C.-area club with the national championship on the line.
Still, there's a way for us to get a feel for the course where Ken Venturi and Ernie Els both won Opens, and another champion will be crowned this year.
World Golf Tour (WGT), the most realistic sports game on the web, is running the Virtual U.S. Open, an annual online golf tournament that’s now in its third year. The USGA (United States Golf Association) partnered with World Golf Tour to re-create Congressional Country Club, the host course of the 2011 U.S. Open, as a high-definition virtual reality game. Anyone can compete in the Virtual U.S. Open and play Congressional online for free by visiting www.USOPEN.comor www.wgt.com.
“The Virtual U.S. Open has become a key part of the interactive experience at USOPEN.com,” said Ellen Mullen Currid, the USGA’s director of digital media. “It reaches golf fans around the world who may have never been to or even seen a U.S. Open before, but who can play it free online under championship conditions.”
Prizes for the 2011 Virtual U.S. Open include a dream trip for two to the 2012 U.S. Open in San Francisco as a special guest of the USGA, as well as hundreds of one-year USGA memberships, official USGA merchandise and USGA gift cards. The top 156 scores plus ties by June 19, 2011 will advance to the Virtual U.S. Open Championship rounds to be held the week after the U.S. Open. See tournament rules for details and eligibility.
More than one million rounds have been played in the 2011 Virtual U.S. Open, already more than in the 2010 Virtual U.S. Open on Oakmont Country Club. Those and other championship courses, including the 2009 Virtual U.S. Open on Bethpage Black, are all available free to play on World Golf Tour.
“We’ve been working closely with the USGA since 2009 to create Virtual U.S. Opens that are worthy of the real-life U.S. Opens,” commented YuChiang Cheng, co-founder and CEO, WGT. “This year’s Virtual U.S. Open on Congressional looks to be the biggest and best one yet. We took more than 300,000 photos to accurately re-create the course for our players. Now anyone can get a true feel for the challenges that the pros will face at Congressional.”