US Open Controversy Par for the Course

Golf course with trees

All the controversy heading into Oakmont was about knee-deep rough, marble putting surfaces and a mammoth par-3, but in the end, everyone was left fuming at the USGA over a rules decision involving eventual champion Dustin Johnson. Having negotiated the final 7-holes with a possible rules infraction hanging over his head, Johnson was docked a penalty shot after the round’s completion, with his score amended to a closing 69 – thankfully still enough for a comfortable three-shot victory.

While this year’s US Open sparked plenty of controversy, that’s nothing new for the year’s second major. From mind-boggling rules decisions to landscaping disasters, the US Open has had it all.

In 1955, San Francisco’s Olympic Club first established itself as the “graveyard of champions” when little-known Jack Fleck denied Ben Hogan a fifth US Open. During the 18-hole playoff Hogan was one shot ahead on the last hole but hooked his tee shot into deep rough and took three wacks just to get it back to the fairway. He would one-putt for double bogey to hand Fleck his lone major title.

After Johnny Miller shot a final round 63 to win the 1973 US Open, the USGA responded by making sure nobody broke par in the first round of the 1974 US Open at Winged Foot. Billed “The Massacre at Winged Foot”, greens were so fast that Jack Nicklaus was seen rolling putts off the green, while advancing a ball even 100 yards out of the rough was seen as a good shot. Hale Irwin went on to win by two shots with a 7-over total – the second-highest winning score in the modern era.

The 1979 US Open at Inverness in Toledo saw the USGA do some drastic re-landscaping mid-tournament after Lon Hinkle spotted a gap from the eighth tee down the 17th fairway that considerably shortened the par-five eighth. Mid-tournament the USGA planted an anti-Hinkle tree to plug the gap and Hale Irwin went on to collect his second US Open in five years.

In 2004 it was at Shinnecock Hills where USGA officials decided to turn off the water hoses to make the course play hard and fast after 11 players stood under-par after the first two days. By Sunday, the Long Island course was so dried out the grounds crew took the unprecedented step of watering the greens in between groups. The tournament would prove to be the second highest-scoring US Open in history with players carding an average of 78.7.

So while all the controversy at the 2016 US Open ended up as a rules decision, controversy is nothing new when it comes to the USGA and almost every year it’s something different.

Canada Day Long Weekend Fun at Niagara Parks!

Canada Day Header

The wide array of attractions located along the Niagara Parkway normally results in a steady flow of traffic running through Queen Victoria Park on long weekends. But this Canada Day visitors will have the rare chance to experience Queen Victoria Park as a car-free zone between Clifton Hill and Fraser Hill, from 7 a.m. to 12 midnight!

WEGO buses and Niagara Parks service vehicles will be the only vehicles operating in the median lanes of Queen Victoria Park on July 1, allowing greater access for all pedestrians and visitors, as well as cyclists to enjoy the beauty of both the American and Canadian Horseshoe Falls. *See below detailed information on road closures and group tour access.

Canada Day Great Canadian BBQ at Queen Victoria Place

Relax and unwind with the Falls as your backdrop, when you join us on the front lawn of Queen Victoria Place to take part in our Great Canadian BBQ. Settle in a comfortable Muskoka chair or find one of the many picnic tables and enjoy great musical entertainment from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., while the fully licensed BBQ takes place from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

All Day Entertainment and the Coca Cola Concert Series

Located on the Illumination Tower Stage right beside Queen Victoria Place, the Madhatters will be playing from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Canada Day, followed by the band Monkley Cascade, who will take to the stage at 8 p.m. and perform until the fireworks begin at 10 p.m. For the full weekend concert listing, visit niagaraparks.com/events.

Be sure to stop and enjoy the interactive entertainment that will also be taking place throughout the day within Queen Victoria Park, between the Falls Lower Incline Plaza and  Grand View Marketplace, featuring face painters, balloon artists, stilt walkers and other surprise performers!

Falls Fireworks

As part of the holiday celebrations, special extended fireworks displays will be held on Friday, July 1 to mark Canada Day and Monday, July 4 in honour of the U.S. Independence Day. These expanded holiday fireworks are in addition to the regularly scheduled fireworks show planned for Sunday, July 3.

fireworks over river

‘One World: A Tribute to Humanness’ Multicultural Event

Taking place from 3:30 to 10:30 p.m. in Queen Victoria Park, at the base of Murray Hill, this special cultural event will feature a variety of multicultural performances and music, including a Canada Day cake cutting ceremony to be held at 5:30 p.m. For more information can be found here.

Interpretative Heritage Tours

Visit Table Rock Welcome Centre and take part in an interpretative tour led by Niagara Parks Heritage staff from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Floral Showhouse Summer Display

During the holiday weekend, be sure to stop by the Floral Showhouse to take in the spectacular summer display. The displays in the popular greenhouses are regularly changed for visitors’ enjoyment, with eight seasonal plant exhibitions held throughout the year. While at the Showhouse, guests can enjoy the site of a developing Titan Arum bud, which is expected to bloom in early-July. Considered the world’s tallest flower, the Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan Arum, is a massive bell-shaped flower, which can grow up to three metres in height. Admission to the facility is $5 for adults and $3.75 for children, ages six to 12 years of age.

Niagara Falls Adventure Passes

Create lasting family memories during the holiday long-weekend when you purchase the Niagara Falls Adventure Pass. The pass includes admission to four incredible Niagara attractions – Journey Behind the Falls, Niagara’s Fury, White Water Walk and Hornblower Niagara Cruises – with two days’ unlimited ridership on the WEGO bus transportation system and over $60 in bonus coupons. Learn more information and purchase your pass here.

*Canada Day Road Closure & Parking Information

Vehicular access into Queen Victoria Park via Murray Street, from Warren Avenue (at the Skylon Tower) to the Niagara Parkway, will be closed during the day. Table Rock Welcome Centre, Floral Showhouse, Falls Parking Lot and Fraser Hill Parking Lot will all remain open and be accessible from the Niagara Parkway via Upper Rapids Boulevard, in the south. For directions, please visit www.niagaraparks.com/plan.

One Giant Titan Takes the Lead!

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Two giant Titan Arum plants at the Floral Showhouse are attracting a lot of attention. The hometown favourite, a plant called Morph, is waging an epic race against a newcomer, that is not yet named.

They have been waging this silent, epic battle of the Titans for over a month now, racing to be the first one to bloom. But Morph’s recent, sustained spurt of growth has left the unnamed rival falling behind. Morph, a veteran bloomer, has shown that enthusiasm is no match for experience. Morph’s giant flower bud has recently been growing over 3 inches (7 cm) a day, and on June 6th it stood 48 inches (120 cm) tall. Wayne Hoeschle, the Titan Arum curator, now needs to climb a ladder to measure the flower bud each morning. Even though Morph looks impressive right now, based on past records its flower bud will soon grow twice as tall before opening fully in all its smelly glory, most likely around the middle of June. The unnamed rival, currently dawdling along at less than an inch (2 cm) per day, will bloom a couple of weeks later, losing the battle.

Visitors to the Floral Showhouse can fill in a ballot and offer their suggestions for a name for the determined rival. Rarely do you get a chance to name one of the world’s tallest flowers, so hurry and submit your choice today. Incidentally, don’t pick “Mr. Stinky” since it is already the nickname for several smelly Titan Arum relatives at the Floral Showhouse.

Having bloomed twice each since 2012, when they were the first reported Titan Arums to bloom in Canada, Morph and another Titan Arum called Clive have been the superstars of the Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse. Now Morph is preparing to bloom again – a third under his name in the Floral Showhouse ledger. Once the flower opens and the beautiful, frilly, deep-maroon spathe unfurls fully, it is going to be quite a spectacular (and smelly) show.

Also impressive in their own ways, several other Titan Arums are currently in leaf at the Floral Showhouse. Don’t miss the opportunity to see Clive, who flowered last year, as it sends up a giant, green-spotted stem about 20 feet (6 m) high to form a new leaf.

Come check out the Titan Arums at the Floral Showhouse, open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Floral Showhouse will be open extended hours when the Titan Arum flowers are blooming. Come visit and celebrate this amazing and rare event; it will be a visual treat and an olfactory experience!
While at the Floral Showhouse, you’ll also enjoy the beauty of the Martha Washington Geranium Show during the entire month of June.

While at the Floral Showhouse, you’ll also enjoy the beauty of the Martha Washington Geranium Show during the entire month of June.

Learn more about our Titan Arums here.