June 12, 2009

USGA Aims For Bold Step For Men's And Women's U.S. Opens

Sources: The men's and women's U.S. Opens are likely to be played at Pinehurst No. 2 on consecutive weeks in 2014

HAVRE DE GRACE, MD. -- Barring one hurdle expected to be resolved Monday morning, the 2014 men's and women's U.S. Open will be played on Pinehurst No. 2 on consecutive weeks, multiple sources told Golf World. The U.S. Open will be conducted June 12-15 and the U.S. Women's Open will be played June 19-22, marking the first time the two national championships will be contested on the same course in back-to-back weeks.

The announcement is planned for Wednesday by the USGA at the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black outside New York City, the sources said. Sources familiar with the situation said "there is one issue on a local level that needs to be resolved or it could all fall apart." The fact that the move would result in winners all around -- the USGA, the Pinehurst Resort, the community of Pinehurst as well and men's and women's golf -- suggests the local issues will be resolved.

"At this time there is no decision made on the 2014 U.S. Women's Open," said USGA director of communications Rand Jerris.

According to sources, to hold both Opens on the same venue on consecutive weeks will be both a publicity grabber and cost efficient. The USGA will be able to leave its infrastructure in place -- scoreboards, bleachers, hospitality facilities -- and the network televising the events can leave its cable and cameras in place.

'"Because there are eight courses, they will be able to keep the other seven open during the tournaments," according to one of the sources. "And with the men's event held first, the USGA will be able to widen the fairways, trim the rough and slow the greens for the women if they desire," the source said.

"Decisions about U.S. Open venues are made by the USGA," LPGA chief communications officer David Higdon told Golf World.

"If you have questions about that I think you should speak directly with the USGA," said Janine Driscoll, communication manager for the Pinehurst Resort.

There has long been speculation about whether it would be feasible to hold both the men's and women's Open at the same venue and the same time, as is done with U.S. tennis Opens. Holding the events on consecutive weeks seems like a reasonable and workable solution.

One problem will be lining up enough volunteers to work both weeks. It requires hundreds of volunteers to stage a golf tournament. Since many of the volunteers at Pinehurst are Pinehurst members and don't have to come in from out of town, the obstacle should be manageable.

By hosting the 2014 U.S. Women's Open, Pinehurst No. 2 will become the first and only course to host the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women's Amateur.