In a year highlighted by a West Coast major championship, the USGA has officially anchored itself to the East Coast for the foreseeable future. The USGA's primary offices in New Jersey will not be moving, but it is opening up a second location in Pinehurst, North Carolina,that is expected to house an equipment-testing facility, innovation hub, museum and visitor center and offices for up to 50 USGA staffers.
Of course, this is closely tied to the USGA's relationship with Pinehurst No. 2, the crown jewel of this nine-course resort (not to mention the Cradle, a fabulous par-3 course nearby). In conjunction with the USGA's move, No. 2 will receive five future U.S. Opens, it was announced this week. Those years will include 2024, 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047.
The 2024 U.S. Open at Pinehurst was already planned, but the rest were not. The move by the USGA this week sparked a conversation about a potential rota for this event akin to the Open Championship where only a handful of courses are used for the biggest event in the country. The language used by the USGA was about Pinehurst being "the USGA's first anchor site for the U.S. Open," which leads one to believe there could be others.
Here are the future U.S. Open venues that we currently know about.
- 2020 -- Winged Foot Golf Club
- 2021 -- Torrey Pines Golf Course
- 2022 -- The Country Club
- 2023 -- Los Angeles Country Club
- 2024 -- Pinehurst No. 2
- 2025 -- Oakmont Country Club
- 2026 -- Shinnecock Hills Golf Club
- 2027 -- Pebble Beach Golf Links
- 2029 -- Pinehurst No. 2
- 2035 -- Pinehurst No. 2
- 2041 -- Pinehurst No. 2
- 2047 -- Pinehurst No. 2
It's easy to envision a rotation including those last four venues of Pinehurst, Oakmont, Shinnecock and Pebble. You could toss in two others and have a really strong group of six, or you could leave one slot open for new and interesting courses like Erin Hills and Chambers Bay. Regardless, Pinehurst will be in the mix.
"There is no better place for the USGA to plant new roots than the Home of American Golf," said USGA CEO Mike Davis. "Thanks to the vision of North Carolina, Moore County and Pinehurst leaders, we are taking a bold step forward and forging a long-term commitment that will elevate our championships, foster greater innovation in golf, and ultimately help grow the game."
"This new USGA hub along with the assured rotation of the U.S. Open in Pinehurst will bring jobs and millions of tourism dollars to our state," added North Carolina governor Roy Cooper. "North Carolina's golf history is legendary, and this adds to the luster."
The USGA has also committed to bring the U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur, U.S. Women's Amateur, U.S. Junior and U.S. Girls' Junior to the state of North Carolina. Add it all up, and this is a great benefit for both the USGA -- which gets some amazing courses -- and the state of North Carolina -- which gets some amazing championships. It will be intriguing to see if, as a result of this, a U.S. Open rota follows this move and how different the country's biggest golf championship looks 10 or 20 years down the road.