Los Angeles Country Club is close to a deal to host the 2023 U.S. Open.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the club's membership has been notified via email of an impending vote about hosting the Open, an event that has not been played in the Los Angeles area since Riviera Country Club held the 1948 playing won by Ben Hogan. In 2017, Riviera co-hosts the U.S. Amateur with Bel-Air CC, while Los Angeles Country Club hosts the 46th Walker Cup. A contract with the USGA has yet to be signed.
"As a general rule, the USGA keeps its site selection process confidential to protect future sites and related parties. In this instance, we confirm that the USGA and Los Angeles Country Club are exploring the possibility of conducting a future U.S. Open Championship at the club," the USGA said in a statement. "There are several important steps required in the Championship selection process to ensure its success, including garnering the support of the Club's membership and evaluating the feasibility of conducting a world-class championship in the heart of the Los Angeles community. We are appreciative of the opportunity to continue the process."
Ranked 41st on Golf Digest's most recent ranking of America's 100 Greatest Courses, the North Course has long been regarded for its stern examination and its remarkable location between Beverly Hills and UCLA's Westwood campus. Although it has hosted two prior USGA events, the 1954 U.S. Junior Amateur (won by Bud Bradley) and the 1930 U.S. Women's Amateur (Glenna Collett), it has never hosted the USGA's signature championship.
If ultimately awarded, this will be the first U.S. Open played in the heart of a major American city. The 7,236-yard North Course features views of the Hollywood Hills and west to the South Bay, yet still exudes a rural sensibility with several holes playing along or over a sandy, sycamore-dotted barranca.
The North Course underwent a restoration in 2010 by architect Gil Hanse with -- full disclosure here -- assistance from the author of this story. As with many classic designs, tree plantings had become robust and the intricate bunker style of George Thomas and William Bell had been lost due to time and traditional maintenance practices. The restored course hosted the 2013 Pac-12 Championship won by California. Max Homa of Cal won the individual title a month before claiming NCAA medalist honors.
Releasing news of a club hosting the U.S. Open before a contract has been signed is an unusual change for the USGA, but with modern communication methods, word of the membership vote was likely anticipated and not unprecedented.
Recently, the R&A announced a future Open Championship for Royal Portrush, also pending a membership vote this fall.
The possibility of committing to Los Angeles Country Club in 2023 solidifies a USGA commitment to West Coast dates in the next decade, a region appreciated by Executive Director Mike Davis due to more reliable June weather conditions, which allow for fast, firm setups. Economically, the West Coast also allows for an East Coast prime time finish and higher television ratings. The USGA begins a 12-year television contract with Fox Sports in 2015.
Next year, the U.S. Open is played outside of Seattle at Chambers Bay, followed on the West Coast by Pebble Beach in 2019 and Torrey Pines in 2021. Other host sites awarded future U.S. Opens include Oakmont (2016), Erin Hills (2017), Shinnecock Hills (2018), Winged Foot (2020).