SportsCenter’s Barrie relishes opportunity to cover his first U.S. Open

SportsCenter anchor Matt Barrie is spending this week covering the U.S. Open, golf’s second major of the season, at Wisconsin’s Erin Hills course. Barrie arrived Sunday night and began SportsCenter reports Monday morning with ESPN golf analyst Andy North, a two-time U.S. Open champion and a native of Wisconsin.

Barrie, who lists college football and golf as his two favorite sports, spoke with Front Row about the opportunity to cover his first U.S. Open.

What do you look forward to at the U.S. Open?
It’s the United States national championship and this means a lot because it’s an open – people have to qualify to get in. I was walking the course Monday with two amateur champions who worked their way in. I think what makes this championship special is it allows itself for a tremendous story and storyline if an amateur were to be on the leaderboard, or some guy has made the tournament who has a night job to make ends meet.

With your work schedule, will you have time to go out and watch?
Hopefully when TV is done in the morning I’ll be able to get out there and soak up what it’s like at a U.S. Open once the tournament actually starts [Thursday]. It’ll be different with the layout of this course but it’s still going to be exciting. Because of the sheer size of the course, the way it’s laid out, the undulation, the way everything breaks and rolls and is cut out, it’s going to be a challenge for the patrons to get a good vantage point at some holes, but there’s other holes that have huge grandstands so it’s going to be a little bit of both.

What’s it like working with Andy North?
I will tell you I’ve worked with Andy two Masters, three Players, and now this U.S. Open, and what makes him great is his honesty about what it’s going to take to compete at a high level at that particular event, and nine times out of 10 what he says on Monday or Tuesday will hold up by that Sunday.

What’s making this week an honor for me if that I’m sitting down talking U.S. Open with a guy who’s won two of them, and not only that, but I’m doing TV with him in his home state, hosting its first-ever U.S. Open, I picked up the paper Monday morning and he’s on the cover of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, he’s got a feature article in the U.S. Open program – he’s golf royalty in the state of Wisconsin. This is something I’ll write down on my career resume.