In this May 17, 2017, golfers approach the 15h hole at Erin Hills golf course in Erin, Wis. All eyes will focus on how the roughly 7,700-yard, par-72 course will test the world’s best golfers in its inaugural major appearance as the course will host the U.S. Open. Course designer Steve Trattner will watch from a jail cell 40 miles away. US Open Championship, Live, Stream, Watch US Open Golf 2017, Online, Erin Hills, Time, Date, 117th US Open Golf, Streaming, Free, News qualifying, scores, tv™leaderboard, winners.(AP)
US Open Golf Championship 2017
The man who first imagined the grassy Wisconsin cattle farm as a potential piece of the U.S. Open’s hallowed history will see that vision come to life this week.
Steve Trattner will be watching on TV from his prison cell, 40 miles away from Erin Hills.
Trattner, 55, is the one-time software programmer whose passion for golf led him to call a Milwaukee-area millionaire businessman, Bob Lang. He persuaded Lang to look at the farm on what’s known as the Kettle Moraine, a land formation in east-central Wisconsin shaped thousands of years ago by buried glacial ice.
Lang, who had long dreamed of building a golf course, fell in love with the location and bought the territory, but would go on to lose millions in developing and eventually being forced to sell the 11-year-old layout.
Through all that, Lang and Trattner fulfilled their mission of building a course to host a U.S. Open. And the existence of Erin Hills puts to rest the notion that a major championship course needs decades’ worth of golf stories to enjoy a rich history.
“It was as close to an obsession as there can be for him,” Trattner’s attorney, Lew Wasserman, said of his client’s devotion to the golf course. “It was his life.”
But only seven months before Lang — cash strapped and in need of revenue — rushed the course to open to the public in 2006, Trattner pleaded no contest to first-degree reckless homicide for killing his wife, Sin Lam. He is serving a 35-year prison sentence.
Trattner is currently appealing his plea , arguing he was not properly represented in his earlier hearings. Wasserman argues much of the evidence was mishandled or omitted.
The attorney says he finds it “sadly ironic” that at the time of his sentencing, Trattner, who worked part-time as Erin Hills project manager with a salary of $2,000 a month, was “portrayed as being this kind of bum who was puttering around with this land near Holy Hill.”
“If you’re a judge, sitting up there with this guy sitting in front of you, and you see his wife who was supposedly strangled to death for no reason, you’re not going to care about some golf course that nobody knows about,” Wasserman said.
According to the criminal complaint and other court documents along with testimony from authorities:
–Trattner told police he was in the couple’s kitchen on the night of Jan. 3, 2006, when Lam told him she wanted a divorce.
–Trattner grabbed his wife by the shoulders, and she hit him on his chest. He threw her against the cabinets, banged her head on the floor 10 to 20 times and punched her face. He “used his hands around her throat until she stopped moving,” the complaint says.
–Trattner covered Lam’s body with a blanket and left her lying on the floor.
–Trattner went to bed, and woke up the next day to get the couple’s two children ready for school. Not until that afternoon did he call the police.
–Trattner told police he placed sleeping pills next to his wife’s head to make it look as if she had committed suicide.
Wasserman said Trattner’s attorney at the time failed to include many of the details of the crime scene to the sentencing judge. Wasserman describes a disintegrating marriage between Trattner and Lin, and escalating tension at home that turned into a physical altercation. Wasserman said there’s evidence that Lin had reached for a butcher block filled with knives before Trattner strangled her.
“Is this a case of perfect self-defense? Maybe not,” Wasserman said. “But that’s not the issue. We’re not dealing with a jury’s verdict. We’re dealing with whether he was properly advised to enter a plea for first-degree reckless homicide.”
The Waupaun Correctional Facility at which Trattner is incarcerated denied The Associated Press a phone interview with the inmate, citing “concerns about the impact on the victim’s family.”
But in previous interviews, Trattner has said he’ll be watching as much of the U.S. Open as he can.
He has acknowledged that the price both he and Lang paid for bringing the course to fruition was not worth it.
“Likely it contributed (to) our tragedy, as well,” Trattner wrote in a series of handwritten missives to Sports Illustrated . “Bob and I and our families would likely be SO MUCH BETTER OFF had Erin Hills not occurred.”
Lang, who built an empire selling calendars and greeting cards, lost more than $10 million on the project, according to several reports, and was forced to sell Erin Hills at a loss after a series of costly renovations, construction projects and adjacent land buys spiraled out of control.
His initial investment, the $2.5 million purchase of the property, closed in December 2001. In 2004, with the PGA Championship being contested 70 miles away at Whistling Straits, Lang and his friends lured USGA executive director Mike
Davis, then the U.S. Open championship director, to the unshaped expanse that would eventually become Erin Hills.
“If you were out here and you know about architecture, it was screaming out for a golf course to be built,” Davis said.
Lang told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the changes the USGA recommended would have cost between $150,000 and $200,000. He borrowed $2.7 million to bankroll the face-lift he wanted.
“He just kept making everything bigger, which is what makes the place what it is,” one of the original course designers, Dana Fry, told the Journal Sentinel in a six-part series that details the creation of the course.
The four-day event is slated to run through Sunday, June 18.
PGA stars Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day are among the favorites. Last year, Johnson won the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont.
Here’s a look at the tee times, odds, results and live updates from the 2017 U.S. Open:
2017 U.S. Open: TV channel, schedule, how to watch online
Thursday, June 15
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.: FS1
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: FOX
Friday, June 16
11 a.m. – 6 p.m.: FS1
6 p.m. – 9 p.m.: FOX
Saturday, June 17
11 a.m. – 8 p.m.: FOX
Sunday, June 18
11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.: FOX
You can watch online coverage of the U.S. Open via FOX Sports Go.
2017 U.S. Open: Course information
Course: Erin Hills
Location: Erin, Wisc.
Length: 7,741 yards
Course description, per ErinHills.com: “Opened in 2006, Erin Hills is an American original – a heartland-style golf course routed over the Kettle Moraine area left by glaciers, surrounded by wetlands and a river, with ground that consists of glacial till of varied composition. In an unconventional decision for a course in Wisconsin, the architects used fine fescue for the fairways to emphasize the natural contours of the land. With bentgrass greens and fine fescue fairways, this walking course is a change of pace. One of only six public-access courses ever to be selected to host the U.S. Open, Erin Hills will offer a comprehensive test of golf befitting this global championship – one where a combination of shotmaking, course management and a physical and mental test through four days of competition will determine who will be named champion. Its location, in the heart of America, is widely accessible and welcoming to golfers everywhere.”
2017 U.S. Open: Thursday tee times at Erin Hills
Tee times via PGA.com. All times listed are Eastern.
2017 U.S. Open: Live updates
2017 U.S. Open: Golf odds at Erin Hills
Via Bovada, current as of June 12.
- Dustin Johnson +750
- Jordan Spieth +1200
- Rory McIlroy +1200
- Jason Day +1400
- Jon Rahm +2000
- Rickie Fowler +2000
- Justin Rose +2200
- Sergio Garcia +2200
- Hideki Matsuyama +2800
- Henrik Stenson +2800
- Adam Scott +3000
- Justin Thomas +3300
- Brooks Koepka +4000
- Branden Grace +4000
- Thomas Pieters +4000
- Paul Casey +5000
- Alex Noren +5000
- Charl Schwartzel +5000
- Louis Oosthuizen +5000
- Jason Dufner +6600
- Matt Kuchar +6600
- Bubba Watson +6600
- Daniel Berger +6600
- Kevin Chappell +6600
- Kevin Kisner +6600
- Martin Kaymer +6600
- Shane Lowry +6600
- Patrick Reed +8000
- Billy Horschel +8000
- Francesco Molinari +8000
- Marc Leishman +8000
- Lee Westwood +10000
- Brandt Snedeker +10000
- Bud Cauley +10000
- Byeong-Hun An +10000
- Jimmy Walker +10000
- Matthew Fitzpatrick +10000
- Rafael Cabrera Bello +10000
- Russell Henley +10000
- Tyrrell Hatton +10000
- Adam Hadwin +12500
- Bernd Wiesberger +12500
- Brendan Steele +12500
- Emiliano Grillo +12500
- Gary Woodland +12500
- J.B. Holmes +12500
- Si Woo Kim +12500
- Steve Stricker +15000
- Tommy Fleetwood +15000
- Bill Haas +15000
- Brian Harman +15000
- Charley Hoffman +15000
- Graeme McDowell +15000
- Lucas Glover +15000
- Ross Fisher +15000
- Russell Knox +15000
- Stewart Cink +15000
- Webb Simpson +17500
- Zach Johnson +17500