#17 Chambers Bay
The green at the 425-yard, par-4 16th offers a number of options, the nastiest a cup cut in the back right "thumb" area.
Arguably, the bombshell of the year was the USGA awarding the 2015 U.S. Open (and 2010 U.S. Amateur) to Chambers Bay, an old gravel mine transformed into a magnificent, windswept $20 million muny by the shores of Puget Sound outside Tacoma, Wash. The February announcement was stunning because the Robert Trent Jones Jr. design only had opened for play eight months earlier. Perhaps inspired by the PGA of America's "locking up" Whistling Straits for major events shortly after it debuted (or its own experience with public tracks such as Bethpage Black and Torrey Pines), the USGA acted swiftly—and to glowing early reviews.