Mardy Fish is one step closer to qualifying for the U.S. Open—in golf, that is. The former world No. 7 has been swinging a club instead of a racquet for the past six months, and won an alternate spot in sectional qualifying for next month's major at the TPC Valencia this week.
Fish, who has not played on the ATP tour since Washington almost 10 months ago, missed the cut by two strokes but got one of two alternate positions by winning a playoff hole. "I'm used to the pressure," he told the U.S. Open website.
Fish said playing a golf course was different from competing head-to-head against tennis players. "In tennis, you either win or you lose," he said. "Out here, it's like you feel like you lose. But you don't really lose."
The American made a strong start in his round but then finished by bogeying the 15th, 16th and 17th holes. When dominating an opponent in a tennis match, Fish said, "I would tell myself, just work hard for the next 15, 20 minutes and you'll be in the locker room with a win. You can't do that out here."
If Fish were to qualify for the U.S. Open in golf, he would become the third player—after Ellsworth Vines and Frank Conner—to compete at both U.S. Opens.