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Even at Chambers Bay, U.S. Open still takes back seat to Seahawks

While the world watches the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay, more attention locally seems to be the Seahawks. (AP)

I’m torn on our coverage of the U.S. Open at 710 ESPN Seattle. It’s the biggest sporting event to ever be held in our area, topping the Final Fours at the Kingdome and NBA Finals with the Sonics in 1996. I say this because the world is focused on the U.S. Open; the other events were on more of a national scope.

When I worked at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, we would have put all of our resources into covering the U.S. Open, which is what’s happening now at The Seattle Times and The News Tribune in Tacoma, two papers that are doing a terrific job with their stories from Chambers Bay.

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Even though it’s a big deal, I understand why most of our attention still goes to the Seahawks. More people are more interested in the Seahawks in June than they are in a bunch of golfers at Chambers Bay.

The Seattle Times runs daily sports polls. Earlier this week, one of the polls asked readers how much Russell Wilson should get in his new contract. More than 7,000 readers responded. In another poll on Tuesday, readers were asked if they will be watching the U.S. Open. Forty-six percent said they’ll watch on TV while 33 percent said they won’t watch at all. Most telling, only 416 readers responded to the poll.

The world’s best golfers will tee off in the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday. But that same day, the Seahawks will hold their only minicamp practice of the week.

I’m guessing we’ll be talking more about the contract situations with Wilson, Michael Bennett and Bruce Irvin than the shots hit by Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson. We won’t ignore the U.S. Open, featuring scoring updates every half-hour, but the focal point will be the VMAC and Kennydale, not Chambers Bay and University Place.

Years ago, I would not have been OK with that, but I am now. Would I rather talk about golf for one week, particularly when the Seahawks are a month and a half from starting training camp and 2 1/2 months from playing their first regular-season game? Yes, of course, and we do talk about the U.S. Open every day for one segment when we “Get On The Green” during the “Danny, Dave and Moore” show. Plus Shon Crewe and I will host “The Golf Show” live from Chambers Bay Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. and Sunday from 9 to 11 a.m.

But, again, there’s more interest in the Seahawks and everything about them, from Wilson’s contract to his one-word Tweets. And I’d argue that there is still more interest in the fading Mariners than the U.S. Open, particularly Wednesday night with Felix Hernandez facing Madison Bumgarner of the Giants.

Yet I would encourage you to go to Chambers Bay this week if you can. I was blown away by the scene there. I’ve been to Augusta four times for the Masters, but this seemed much bigger to me – enormous bleachers, tents and crowds for a practice round on Tuesday.

From what I could see, everything was running smoothly. Spectator Square off of the 18th fairway is a great meeting place to have a beer or lunch. Make sure to visit the Merchandise Pavilion, which felt like a big department store inside. I thought it would take forever to make your purchase, but it didn’t because they had so many people manning the cash registers.

Then when you’re on the course, there are spectacular settings wherever you go. I sat for a half-hour in the bleachers by the 17th green and had a 180-degree view of Puget Sound while Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Jimmy Walker and Brandt Snedeker played the hole.

If you’re a golf fan like I am, it’s very cool to see the players you watch week after week right in front of you in person. So by all means, if you can make it, go for it, and if you can’t, it still promises to be fun to watch on FOX with Joe Buck and Greg Norman, my favorite golfer of all-time.