In the tug-o-war among U.S. Open hopeful venues along the West Coast, new USGA executive director Mike Davis made some telling comments about who gets the thumbs-up – and quite possibly the thums-down – for the future.
On the heels of the USGA’s announcement that the U.S. Open will be heading back to Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in New York in 2018, Davis was asked point-blank where Torrey Pines South Course fits into the rotation.
Given the USGA likely won’t keep four West Coast courses are part if its 12- to 15-course rotation for the U.S. Open, the suitors are Pebble Beach Golf Links (Monterey Peninsula), The Olympic Club (San Francisco), Torrey Pines South (San Diego) and Chambers Bay Golf Course (University Place).
Historic Pebble Beach will ALWAYS be part of the rotation, and gets another crack at it in 2019. The Olympic Club has been a stalwart for years, and will host it next year. Chambers Bay is front and center in 2015 for the first time as an influx of new courses are starting to crack the lineup.
Torrey Pines, the 2008 site of the memorable Tiger Woods-versus-Rocco Mediate playoff duel? Really up in the air.
That site presented some logistical issues for that U.S. Open. And Davis made it clear Wednesday he does not care for sites that host PGA Tour events, which Torrey Pines is.
“I would argue, any place we go (that hosts a PGA Tour event), including Pebble Beach, you expose it every single year,” Davis said. “I think that takes away something from the U.S. Open.”
Pebble Beach is a “home run site,” so that really doesn’t matter. So is Shinnecock Hiils, also a fixture in the rotation. So is Winged Foot and Pinehurst No. 2.
Torrey Pines South? “A great course. I don’t think Torrey Pines is a Shinnecock Hills,” Davis said.
With the USGA going back to Pebble Beach in 2019, a likely scenario for another West Coast host is 2022 or 2023, at the earliest.
And if Chambers Bay pulls off what Davis thinks, and is banking on, it might push itself into more big opprtunities – all the while Torrey Pines South Course hopes and waits.