USGA Says It Is Priority To Play In “The Cathedrals Of The Game”


SAN DIEGO – The United States Golf Association regularly holds a press conference prior to the start of the US Open to discuss the course, the host city and, on occasion, to announce the future direction of the tournament. While there was nothing major reported on Wednesday at Torrey Pines, there was a big tease by one of the top USGA officials.

We already know the venues that will host the US Open between 2022 and 2027. Yet last year, John Bodenhamer, senior general manager of the USGA Championships, hinted that a defined course rotation could be In progress. The R&A is already using course rotation as the host sites for the British Open, so popular thought has been that the USGA could adopt a similar system.

Bodenhamer was asked if there were more details he could share, but he said no. “For us, it’s a priority to really bring the US Open and the US Women’s Open to what we consider to be the cathedrals of the game, the best places to play our championships,” he said.

It is safe to say that Pebble Beach Golf Links is a “cathedral of the game”, as are Oakmont, Winged Foot, Pinehurst No. 2 and the Olympic Club. It is debatable whether the Torrey Pines South Course, but Tiger Woods’ spectacular victory here in 2008, coupled with its stunning made-for-television views, certainly makes it iconic. The USGA loves this municipal facility.

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“I think the way we think about it is really something Nick Price said a few years ago in our Championship committee,” Bodenhamer said. “It’s important where the players win their US Open, US Women’s Open. So you know what, we asked players, where do you want to win your US Open? So, we thought about this.

To be clear, winning a major championship is a fantastic achievement for any golfer, but when he wins on specific courses it is worth even more in the eyes of his peers and the golfing world. For example, Paula Creamer not only won a US Women’s Open, but she also won at Oakmont. Major bonus points. Justin Rose won the 2013 US Open in Merion, where Ben Hogan won in 1953 and Lee Trevino defeated Jack Nicklaus in 1971. Again, big bonus points.

“We don’t have anything to announce today or really in the near future, but we are thinking about it and talking about it a lot,” Bodenhamer said. “I would say just hang in there because there are some really cool things to come. I would say that on both sides, the US Open and the US Women’s Open. It won’t be too long, but we still have work to do.

Did a USGA official in a blue blazer just say, “Buckle up?

If a defined course group were to be created for the US Open and US Women’s Open, certain courses would need to be on the list. Golf enthusiasts already know them: Pebble Beach, Pinehurst No. 2, Winged Foot, Oakmont, Merion and the Olympic Club, which just hosted the US Women’s Open for the first time, should be regular stops for them. national championships of our country.

It’s an east coast focused list, of course, especially if you add Shinnecock Hills as the seventh course. Including Torrey Pines could add more balance. The US Open is set to take place at Los Angles Country Club in 2024, so if that goes well and the course proves popular with players and fans alike, it could help balance the balance as well.

There is no Midwestern representation in the course listing above, however, and that’s a problem. At the same time, no one has claimed a US Open at Olympia Fields, Oakland Hills, Medinah or Erin Hills, although the Women’s US Open is being held there in 2025. Additionally, Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, hosts the PGA Championship in 2022. There probably won’t be a US Open anytime soon, and frankly, neither of these sites will make the hearts of players and fans beat faster anyway.

And that’s the purpose of a rotation. The sites chosen by the USGA for rotation must be extraordinary. They must be, as Bodenhamer said, cathedrals of play.

The question that remains to be answered now is, will the USGA take us to church more often in the future?

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