Play Merion video game online -- for free!

Virtualopen_600 If, like most of us at, you narrowly missed qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open, here’s your chance to take on Merion anyway.
World Golf Tour, a popular online sports game, is hosting the Virtual U.S. Open on a strikingly faithful-looking computerized version of the grand old course.
Through a partnernship with the United States Golf Association, World Golf Tour was granted access to take helicopter fly-over images of Merion, then translate those images into a virtual course that is accurate to within a fraction of an inch.
The hyper-realistic virtual course is even set to U.S. Open specs, with savage rough, slender fairways and lightning greens. Only the pin positions, which the USGA keeps under wraps until tournament time, are not exact.
Anyone can play and it’s free to compete. You sign up here.
The top 156 scores plus ties by June 30 will advance to the virtual championship rounds in July. Prizes include a trip for two to the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst as a special guest of the USGA.

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by Kevin Cunningham