Even before he hits a shot at this week’s U.S. Open, Adrian Meronk will go down in major championship history.
He’s used to it by this point.
A common starting point for any discussion on Meronk is the same: To my knowledge, he’s the first Polish player.
After his final practise round on Wednesday, Meronk joked, “I’ve been breaking all the records” in preparation for his major championship debut at Torrey Pines.
He was the country’s first Challenge Tour champion, first player to receive a European Tour card, and first to compete in a major championship.
He will make History Next Month as the first Polish Golfer to Compete in the Olympics.
It’s exciting to test the limits of what’s possible,” Meronk added. The thing is, I don’t want to stop. If I’m going to make progress, I need to keep moving.
Even with his 6-foot-6 athletic body, it seems like Torrey Pines will be a lot to ask of him. It’s completely different from the Toya Golf & Country Club course outside Wroclaw, Poland, where Meronk learned the game, and unlike any other course he’s ever played.
Poland as a golf Destination?
At first, it was just a fun way to spend time with his dad, who had been obsessed with the game during a visit to Hamburg, Germany. Since Meronk’s birth, his family has lived in that country, but they returned to Poland when he was three.
“I’ve been on the golf course for as long as I can remember,” Meronk added.
He gave Volleyball, basketball, and Soccer a shot but Ultimately Settled on golf.
He enjoyed the tranquilly of nature and the fact that no two shots were ever the same.
It’s not boring, he assured me. So, I decided to give tennis a shot. Really, I found it to be rather dull. No matter what team sport I was a part of, I was constantly frustrated because no one ever passed the ball to me.
Golf was important enough to him that he and his father made the seven-hour round-trip to Wroclaw, and finally settled there. About the time that Welsh coach Matthew Tipper arrived, Meronk had already impressed enough to be invited to a national youth camp.
It was Instantaneous Love for both of them.
It didn’t take long for Tipper to understand that Meronk had what it takes to play on the European Tour or PGA Tour, according to an interview he gave to Golf Digest.
The U.S.A. was the starting point. They looked at schools with a history of European players, and Tipper assured him that he could acquire a scholarship to study in the United States.
East Tennessee State stood out because they had signed a young man from Northern Ireland a few years prior.
That would be Rory McIlroy, who decided to turn pro instead. His plan was Successful.
“I still recall an email I got from his coach and I remember thinking, ‘Poland?'” said Fred Warren, who resigned after a stellar coaching career at East Tennessee State.
I was the one to contact them again, and Warren claims, “he pretty much committed to us.” As the saying goes, “He was coming to Florida for a tournament and I was going to see him.”
Warren anticipated there would not be many coaches there after the first round of play. In fact, he was taken aback by how crowded it was.
Warren remarked, “There were a lot of coaches there, which scared me.” I thought, “This just got a lot harder” after he shot an 8-under 64 and took the lead, but he stuck to his goal.
Meronk went to East Tennessee State University, where he went on to win five times and spend four years studying business finance before graduating.
He decided to turn pro after two years, but he wouldn’t have stayed the full four years for a degree. He went out of his way to play golf with the likes of Jon Rahm, whom he ran into again this week at Torrey Pines for the first time since then.
And he was 16, when he decided to go to college seriously, he finally started studying English. But nothing could have ready him for Johnson City, Tennessee.
In his own words, “I had gone to the States, but not the Southern states,” Meronk explained. The cuisine, lingo, customs, and way of life. It was not an easy year for me as a freshman. My silence was deliberate. I only observed how other people interacted with one another and attempted to mimic their methods.
Warren took note of Meronk after he made two trips outside of Chicago to compete in the Palmer Cup, collegiate Ryder Cup-style matches between the United States and Europe. There were Polish flag-wavers in the intimate gallery.
If you’re the first Pole, I remember thinking this guy has star Potential,” Warren said.
Furthermore, he carries himself really nicely. Some people could even collapse under the pressure. To paraphrase, “He knows he’s talented and can make a difference in Poland.”
A good place to begin is with the U.S. Open. We anticipate that the major push will occur in Tokyo. As we enter the final week of Olympic qualification, Meronk stands at No. 49 in the rankings of the 60-man field. He has a guaranteed roster position, which is something he never thought would happen.
As soon as he heard that golf will be included in the Olympics again, he made it one of his life’s missions to one day represent Poland in the sport.
The Inclusion of golf in the Olympics will have a Significant Impact on the Sport.
It will turn out for the best. In Poland, many people still hold the false belief that golf is a sport only played by the rich.
Having them see me compete in the Olympics on TV will undoubtedly help.
I’ll do all in my power to expand the game of golf.