USGA CEO Mike Davis voluntarily stepping down as head of U.S. Open course setup
Davis will keep that role but give up his other one
Golf fans will have to find a new whipping boy when it comes to U.S. Opens. USGA CEO Mike Davis is stepping away from his position as head of course setup, according to a report by Golf Channel. He will not set up Pebble Beach for this year's U.S. Open, which means Shinnecock in 2018 marks the end of his handiwork. Here's Golf Channel.
Beginning with this year's championship at Pebble Beach, USGA CEO Mike Davis is voluntarily stepping away from his longtime lead role in setting up the golf course at U.S. Opens. Davis' handpicked setup successor is John Bodenhamer, who since being hired by Davis in 2011 has run the association's amateur championships.
Davis, who will remain as USGA CEO has set up U.S. Open courses since 2005. He's clearly somebody who loves that position, but his work -- fair or not -- has been heavily criticized over the past few years. That was true at Shinnecock in 2018 when, and players lit them up for it. Still, Davis said Shinnecock had nothing to do with his decision.
"This decision has been in the works for more than two U.S. Opens," Davis told Golf Channel. "Whether people want to believe that or not, that's for them to decide."
So now Davis' replacement, Bodenhamer, will have his hands full but with one of the classics -- a course that should be difficult to screw up -- in Pebble Beach on deck this summer. It sounds like his plans have less to do with changing how the USGA goes about course setups and more to do with how they interact with the professionals that play their tournaments.
"It's important that we engage and explain why we do what we do," Bodenhamer told Golf Channel. "We haven't done that with the players, and they just don't know us. Last year we went to seven PGA Tour events, and we will go to more this year. Our intentions are good, and the players are going to know our intentions more.
"We aren't going to make all of them happy, but they should understand that we aren't trying to trick up the course or make it ridiculously hard. We are trying to do the opposite, which is why we put so much work into it. As set-up people, the last thing we want to be is the story. The last thing. We want it to be about the players and the golf course."
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