- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The primary merchandise tent for the U.S. Women’s Open will be about triple the size of any merchandise pavilion in the 68-year history of the event. It also will be 28 percent smaller than the pavilion a week earlier for the men’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

This is part of the challenge - and the thrill - for Mary Lopuszynski.

“In 20 years … this is the most exciting Open I've worked on,” said Lopuszynski, the USGA’s senior director of licensing and U.S. Open merchandising.

The USGA is about six weeks away from its grand experiment of hosting the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open on the same course in consecutive weeks. Several structures already will be in place, such as the media center, grandstands, television towers and concession areas.

And so will be the merchandise pavilion, which will be a record 39,000 square feet.

Lopuszynski said the host club typically handles merchandise for the U.S. Women’s Open, and the tent is about 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. For Pinehurst, she said the pavilion will be shrunk to about 28,000 square feet.

“We’re going to move a wall to reduce the size of the square footage of the sales floor,” she said. “We won’t have as much product. My goal is for the merchandise to look great and to have no empty spaces. We want it to look fantastic for the Women’s Open.”

This 18-day sales extravaganza at Pinehurst No. 2 will feature three logos. The men’s logo is the “Golf Lad” character hugging the U.S. Open trophy. The women’s logo features a cardinal on the branch of a pine. And a third logo figures to be the most popular because it has both trophies - the hat of Golf Lad on the men’s trophy, and the cardinal on the women’s trophy with “U.S. Open Championships” across the top.

“The main logo is the joint logo. That’s what is special about this year,” Lopuszynski said. “We’re treating it as two championships and one event, and we’re also doing that with our merchandise. We’re trying to celebrate the joint logo.”

Count her staff among those who might not want to see a Monday playoff for the men. That’s the day set aside to give the pavilion a makeover from the structure to the shelves to the merchandise. The plan is to work through the night on Sunday and all of Monday, when the grounds are to be closed to spectators.

As for the goods?

There are shirts and hats and towels and accessories with each of the three logos, though Lopuszynski said the majority of items have the joint logo. As an example, she said approximately 70 percent of the headwear will feature the joint logo. The merchandise can be replenished on demand.

She said the most successful merchandise sales in U.S. Open history was in 2008 at Torrey Pines (which had a Monday playoff), followed by Merion last year.

“We’re hoping for our best merchandise sales ever for a U.S. Open,” she said. “I think we’re going to do great.”

___

Story Continues →