Canadian alternate hoping for a shot

Canadian James Love is hoping for a shot at playing in the U.S. Open as an alternate. (JULIE...

Canadian James Love is hoping for a shot at playing in the U.S. Open as an alternate. (JULIE JOCSAK/QMI Agency file photo)

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:17 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO - Stephen Ames isn't the only Canadian who brought his clubs to the U.S. Open this week.

He might be the only one to use them on the course, however.

James Love, a 28-year-old Calgary native, is one of the alternates this week at Olympic Club, so all he has been doing is practising and waiting.

"It was freezing this morning when I got here," Love said Wednesday. "I figured maybe some of the old guys might pull out, but I haven't been so lucky yet.

"It has just been kind of, I don't know, weird. You can't really prepare like you're going to play, but you want to prepare so you're not unprepared. It has kind of been fun hanging around, but at this point I just want to get in."

Love was the first alternate after a 36-hole sectional qualifying event June 4 in Atlanta. The USGA doesn't disclose its alternate list, but it is based on the strength of field and number of competitors at each sectional. Love doesn't know how many players away he is from getting into the field, but a USGA official indicated chances were slim.

Love was still waiting Wednesday afternoon along with his entourage, which includes his girlfriend, his parents, his caddie and his caddie's girlfriend. He's so close and he might never get closer.

Jordan Spieth, who helped the University of Texas win the recent NCAA men's golf tournament, and 14-year-old Andy Zhang were the beneficiaries of two withdrawals Monday. Both are better stories than Love's.

"The guys that have got in are, I assume, the guys they would want to get in," said Love, who plays on the Nationwide Tour. "Maybe it's coincidence, maybe it's not."

Love has been allowed to use the range and putting green at Olympic, but he can't play practice rounds. He has played the course "10 or 11 times" in his life, but he knows he has never played it as tough as the USGA has it set up for the U.S. Open.

Love will report to the course Thursday morning, just hoping for the chance to play. He wasn't sure what else to do.

"Send some bad sushi to the hotels, I guess?" he said with a laugh.

CHIP SHOTS: Alvaro Quiros had a hole-in-one on the 288-yard, par-4 seventh hole during his Wednesday practice round ... There will be a unique starting point during the first two rounds. Since the ninth tee is next to the clubhouse, groups will go off No. 1 and No. 9, instead of the usual No. 10 ... Zhang had an official press conference Wednesday, and he did well. "I am shaking a little right now sitting here," he said. "I heard Jack Nicklaus was sitting in this chair this morning. Was he? Yeah? So I'm trying to get used to this. I'm not doing quite well right now." ... USGA executive director Mike Davis, who sets up the course, is pleased with the shape of Olympic. "The greens are as good as any greens we have seen at a U.S. Open. They putt beautifully," he said. "The fairways are perfect. The rough is aptly named; it's rough. We're just delighted." The players are unlikely to feel the same way come Thursday.


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