Wes Short Jr. realizes boyhood dream after arriving at Oakmont for U.S. Open

Wes Short

Wes Short Jr. realizes boyhood dream after arriving at Oakmont for U.S. Open

PGA Tour

Wes Short Jr. realizes boyhood dream after arriving at Oakmont for U.S. Open

OAKMONT, Pa. – For nearly 35 years, Wes Short Jr. had to settle for watching the U.S. Open.

His first attempt to qualify came when he was an 18-year-old kid in Austin, Texas, and since then it’s been his dream to play in what he considers the biggest golf tournament in the world.

This year, at 52, Short gets his chance to live out his dream.

He’s the oldest player in the field, and one of two players representing the senior circuit, the other being Jeff Maggert, who has seven top 10s in U.S. Open, including a pair of third-place finishes in 2002 and 2004.

Short has come close, missing out in a few playoffs, most recently in “2006 or ‘07,” and he has missed by a longshot on occasion, too.

But for 34 years he kept trying. Even when he wasn’t playing professionally. He held jobs working in a stone quarry and teaching lessons. But when it was U.S. Open season, he would try to qualify.

Why? It’s simple really.

“Well I always thought I was good enough to play,” he said. “Unfortunately, about golf, to play golf it costs a lot of money to play in tournaments and stuff. But what kept me motivated is actually I had friends that I grew up playing golf with, like Jeff Maggert had some nice success. Omar Uresti is another guy. He’s made a lot of cuts. People that I grew up with kept me motivated.”

This year, Short got here by way of a 36-hole qualifier in Columbus, Ohio, on just two hours of sleep. Short finished T-17 at the Principal Charity Classic that Sunday and traveled from Des Moines, Iowa to Columbus, arriving around 2 a.m Monday morning.

He woke up and played Wedgewood Golf and Country Club for the first time and shot 69-66.

This week he finished T-5 at the Senior Players Championship Sunday and then headed straight for Oakmont. So it’s been quite the haul these past few weeks.

“I don’t think I’ve recovered yet,” Short said. “My legs are still barking at me right now.”

Even with the close calls, and never having made it to the U.S. Open, Short never found it difficult to watch and see his buddies playing in the event he longed to play in.

“It’s such a good tournament to watch, where par really means something,” Short said. “You’re not going to shoot, generally, 20 under par here or anything.”

Short is likely a longshot to even make the cut this week. But none of that matters. What matters is he’s here. He achieved what he set out so long ago to achieve.

“To tell you the truth, it seemed like after all those years, I didn’t ever know if I was going to play in (a U.S. Open),” Short said.

“It’s nice to finally play in one.”

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