January 30, 2018

USGA makes it official: Pinehurst to host 2024 U.S. Open

“It’s a day to celebrate,” Pinehurst resort president Tom Pashley said Wednesday. “It’s great honor to earn the respect and trust of the U.S. Golf Association. Their willingness to return in 2024 again validates No. 2 as a championship test.

“It’s very important to continue to host a U.S. Open. It’s something that continues to make Pinehurst relevant to each new generation.”

Pashley said there had been no discussions with the USGA about hosting the 2024 U.S. Women’s Open in another Open doubleheader.

In the 1999 Open, the late Payne Stewart won with a par putt on the final hole, edging Phil Mickelson and striking a victory pose for the ages.


Pinehurst quickly was awarded the 2005 U.S. Open, won by Michael Campbell of New Zealand in a last-day duel with Tiger Woods. Martin Kaymer of Germany was a runaway winner in the U.S. Open last year, and Michelle Wie scored her breakthrough victory in a major championship by winning the U.S. Women’s Open seven days later.

“The thrill of hosting an Open never goes away,” Pashley said. “There are distinct memories from each Open. I remember last year feeling so proud of having so many people at Pinehurst, so many talking about Pinehurst. We’re in it and around it every day, but when the world sees it, it’s invigorating.

“Each Open carves out its own identity, its own memories. It should be that way in 2024.”

Pinehurst officials were expecting the USGA to break the news on the 2024 Open with its announcement this week. But the Pinehurst Village Council voted last week to approve a licensing agreement with the USGA for the 2024 championship. The agreement will include a payment of $350,000 by the USGA to the council.

“We are absolutely pleased to partner again with the USGA,” Pinehurst mayor Nancy Fiorillo said last week.

The USGA on Wednesday announced the sites for three U.S. Opens: The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. (2022, Los Angeles Country Club (2023) and Pinehurst. The 2024 Open will be played June 13-16.

“Pinehurst has elevated itself to one of the great and historic places in golf in this country,” USGA president Thomas O’Toole said in a statement. “Some say it’s our St. Andrews — it’s certainly something special, and that’s why we’re going back there for the 2024 U.S. Open.”

Having the 2014 Opens in back-to-back weeks was an economic boon. There was $140 million in visitor spending, with an economic impact of more than $238 million over a 26-county region.

Pashley didn’t completely rule out a U.S. Open-U.S. Women’s Open repeat in 2024. He noted the USGA typically makes an announcement on a U.S. Women’s Open site about two years after its U.S. Open selection, but added, “We’ve had no conversations at this point.”

Pinehurst will host a pair of USGA events before the 2024 Open. The U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship will be played in 2017 and the U.S. Amateur will return in 2019.

Pinehurst No. 2, the Donald Ross masterpiece, underwent an extensive renovation before the 2014 Opens. The golf design team of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore narrowed fairways and added more natural areas and native grasses to give No. 2 a more rustic look.

The bent-grass greens on No. 2 then were replaced by Champion bermuda grass soon after the championships.

“Pinehurst has elevated itself to one of the great and historic places in golf in this country,” USGA president Thomas O’Toole said in a statement. “Some say it’s our St. Andrews — it’s certainly something special, and that’s why we’re going back there for the 2024 U.S. Open.”

Pressed to pick an early-line favorite for the 2024 U.S. Open, Pashley said Mickelson and Woods should have aged out but noted Jordan Spieth, this year’s U.S. Open champ, will be just 30.

“In theory he should be in his prime, and there’s no telling how many Opens he may have won by then,” Pashley said.


Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/other-sports/article28255210.html#storylink=cpy

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