Outside of the realm of bull riding, rarely does the span of eight seconds play a pivotal role in everyday events. For Joe Bush, though, that increment made all the difference in making it into the pool of entrants for this year’s U.S. Open.
Bush, a 45-year-old assistant pro, didn’t begin submitting his online application until 4:50 p.m. ET Wednesday, 10 minutes before registration officially closed for the season’s second major. When he finally clicked the “submit” button, Bush became the 9,860th – and final – entry accepted by the USGA, beating the deadline by exactly eight seconds.
“I knew I was cutting it close,” explained Bush, who teaches out of Shackamaxon Country Club in his hometown of Scotch Plains, N.J. “I was literally looking at the clock on the computer and seeing 4:59 as I’m trying to select my sectional site. I was sweating bullets.”
According to Bush, this isn’t the first time he has tempted fate with the registration deadline.
“I definitely am one of those procrastinators,” he noted, adding that there have been years in the past where he had planned to try to qualify but simply forgot to register in time. “I bet if they have a record, there’s a record of me entering literally with 15 minutes or so to go.”
Having beaten the registration cutoff by the slimmest of margins, Bush now has a spot in the 18-hole local qualifier at Haworth Country Club in Haworth, N.J. on May 13. Though he’s been trying to qualify since 1997, the former mini-tour player has yet to break through to the sectional stage.
“I’ve shot under par enough, and I know I have the ability,” explained Bush, who played on both the TearDrop and Hooters tours from 1998-2003 before becoming a teaching professional. “To me it’s the ultimate test, to try and do it under those conditions.”
Bush said he’s taking inspiration from friend and fellow New Jersey professional Mark McCormick, who last year earned a spot in the U.S. Open field at Olympic in his 25th qualifying attempt.
“Every year there’s a Mark McCormick story, and I feel like one year it’s going to be the Joe Bush story,” he added. “If I didn’t think I was capable of actually doing it, I wouldn’t waste my $150 (entry fee).”