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June 10 2013

5:06 PM

TaylorMade's U.S. Open logo

The U.S. Open logo from TaylorMade points to a funny story from Merion's past. (Courtesy: Taylor Made)

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

For the past 10 years, TaylorMade has unveiled a unique logo at each major to commemorate the event. Each item in the logo has a special meaning, and this year's U.S. Open logo is no different.

Here's a guide to the U.S. Open logo:

1. Merion Golf Club has been the site of some memorable U.S. Open moments over the years. The iconic image of Ben Hogan hitting a 1-iron to the 18th green during the 1950 U.S. Open is without a doubt the one the course is remembered for.

So why did TaylorMade make the snake the central figure in the logo? You have to go back to the 1971 U.S. Open at Merion for the answer. Tied after 72 holes, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus returned to the course the following day for an 18-hole playoff. Prior to the start of the playoff, Trevino's daughter put a rubber snake in her dad's golf bag as a joke and, as the story goes, Trevino tossed the snake in Nicklaus' direction.

Contrary to some reports, Trevino tossed it Nicklaus' way not to unnerve him, but because he had asked to see the rubber snake. The lighthearted moment drew a chuckle from both players and the gallery on the first tee.

The snake wound around the bell evokes the universal symbol for medicine — a snake wrapped around a staff — which, according to TaylorMade, is a reference to the 1934 and 1950 U.S. Open winners at Merion. Olin Dutra came back from Amoebic Dysentery the year before winning the 1934 U.S. Open, and Ben Hogan returned from a horrific car accident in 1949 to win the 1950 U.S. Open.

2. The snake's rattle is shaped and colored like Merion's red wicker baskets that rest atop the flag sticks on Merion's East Course — site of this year's U.S. Open — and are the official symbol of the club. The course architect got the idea from English sheepherders, who put round wicker baskets on their staffs to protect their lunch from wildlife.

3. The Liberty Bell is an icon of American independence and the city of Philadelphia. The bell is located 10 miles from Merion Golf Club in Independence Hall.

4. The letters MMXIII at the top of the bell are the Roman numerals for 2013.

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