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Chip Shots

Explaining 'Sportscope,' watching for his son

The rain stopped by 8, and things went swimmingly Friday at the U.S. Open. Scenes from the course:

Mickelson sighting

Pop by the merchandise tent and you might run into an elderly man sporting a black baseball cap with a breast cancer awareness pin on the brim. Hang around for a bit and he'll give you a demonstration of the "Sportscope" - a periscope with a zoom feature that retails for $80. He's been making them for about eight years - he thought of the zoom feature himself - and, in his words, "they sell like hotcakes."

What he won't tell you is that he's Phil Mickelson's dad.

Phil Mickelson Sr. is trying to stay behind the scenes at this year's Open, but he's been recognized a few times anyway. He's dividing his time between the merchandise tent (where he'll stress that he's not selling his periscopes, just explaining how they work) and the course, to watch his son play.

"Watching Phil play is the No. 1 priority," he said.

- Aubrey Whelan

Kilmer would not approve

As the oldest campus arboretum in the country, Haverford College has trees that predate the first U.S. Open in 1895.

Yesterday, a 250-year-old white oak almost met an untimely end when it was struck by lightning during the violent storm that delayed play at the tournament, being played across the street from the college.

The lightning flash hit a top branch and burned through the trunk, tossing a 21/2-foot chunk of bark as easily as Tiger Woods hits a golf ball.

"It all happened in a fraction of a second," said William Astifan, the arboretum director.

The 70-foot tree is about 350 yards from the Open's hospitality tents on Haverford's campus - but right next to two dormitories.

Astifan said the tree would likely survive. - Kathy Boccella

Bottom line - stay dry

The seasoned golf-tournament spectator picks up a few tricks through the years. Whereas many of the people sitting in a 17th-green grandstand have wet derrieres from the rain-soaked benches, cousins Susan Kilian, 65, of King of Prussia, and Lynne Freeman, 58, of Keller, Texas, are dry and comfortable because they brought plastic trash bags to cover the wet spots when sitting.

"You need sunscreen, ChapStik, a hat, umbrella," said Freeman, who has been going to tournaments for a decade.

How many years did it take her to learn to bring trash bags?

"Oh, 10." - Carolyn Davis