Pinehurst No. 2 has become the first anchor site for future U.S. Open championships, the United States Golf Association (USGA) just announced. The masterpiece course designed by Donald Ross has been selected to host the organization’s preeminent men’s championships events in 2024, 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047.
Over the 25-year period, these events are projected to have a $2 billion economic impact on North Carolina.
“In a lot of ways, this is groundbreaking,” said USGA CEO Mike Davis, “and we couldn’t be more excited.”
Davis and other top USGA and Pinehurst Resort executives, state and local leaders held a joint press conference at the Pinehurst Country Club.
“This is really unprecedented for the USGA. Typically we don’t name sites that far in the future or at that repetition or frequency,” said Craig Annis, chief brand officer of the USGA.
The decision was based on engagement with key stakeholders over the course of the past year -- including players, fans, and host sites -- to share their thoughts on what makes the U.S. Open a one-of-a-kind major championship.
“Part of our strategy, and what we heard from our fans and influencers, is they want to go to fewer locations and iconic locations,” Annis said. “We are excited to map out where we are taking the U.S. Open in a very strategic way.”
Bob Dedman, Jr., general partner of Putterboy, Ltd. and owner of Pinehurst Resort, said they were “humbled” that course No. 2 was named the USGA’s first anchor site.
“Eight U.S. Opens in less than 50 years is a real testament to our partnership,” Dedman said. “As players have often said, it’s not just what you win but where you win that matters.”
Earlier this week, USGA unveiled plans for “Golf House Pinehurst,” a second headquarters to be developed on the Pinehurst Resort campus. Facilities will include a new equipment-testing center, innovation hub, a “satellite” museum and combined visitors center, along with offices for USGA’s Foundation and its turfgrass agronomy and management section.
County Chairman Frank Quis said golf was an important piece of the fabric of Moore County and that he was excited for the long-term commitment of the five U.S. Open championships.
“This is a positive force, not just in Pinehurst, but for the whole community,” Quis said.
Groundbreaking for the new facilities is expected to take place in Spring 2022.
Earlier this year, the USGA held its annual meeting in Pinehurst when its leadership unveiled the organization’s new U.S. Open slogan, ‘From Many, One.’ The wording captures the unique nature of the U.S. Open, which is open to qualifying for any golfer who meets certain handicap requirements.
“Pinehurst has proven its ability to celebrate USGA’s championships but this iconic venue also inspires greatness from a player’s perspective,” Annis said.
“We believe this will have a great economic development impact not only for Pinehurst and Moore County but all of the state,” Annis said. “Each time we bring the U.S. Open to Pinehurst, it represents about $500 million in economic impact. It is really a win-win-win.”
“North Carolina is a fantastic hotbed of golf, so it provides the opportunity to get closer to our customers, our core golfers,” Annis said. “We also see Pinehurst as striving to innovate and that is also what we are doing. We are proud of our history. Ironically, both the USGA and Pinehurst Resort are celebrating their 125th anniversary this year, but we also need to look for what we can do to bring the game into the future.”
(Original story by Laura Douglass, The Pilot)