The U.S. Open keeps coming back to Pinehurst.
The U.S. Golf Association officially announced Wednesday that the 2024 U.S. Open would be played on the No. 2 course at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, marking the fourth time in 25 years that Pinehurst will host the major championship.
The announcement was made barely a year after Pinehurst hosted both the 2014 U.S. Open and the U.S. Women's Open in back-to-back weeks, an unprecedented golf coupling. While the USGA does not have an official rotation of U.S. Open courses, Pinehurst No. 2 now has been the choice for the 1999, 2005, 2014 and 2024 Opens.
"It's a day to celebrate," Pinehurst resort president Tom Pashley said Wednesday. "It's a great honor to earn the respect and trust of the U.S. Golf Association. Their willingness to return in 2024 again validates No. 2 as a championship test.
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"It's very important to continue to host a U.S. Open. It's something that continues to make Pinehurst relevant to each generation."
Pashley said there had been no discussions with the USGA about hosting the 2024 U.S. Women's Open in another Open doubleheader, but said Pinehurst would agree to do it, if asked.
In the 1999 Open, the late Payne Stewart won with a dramatic par putt on the final hole, edging Phil Mickelson and striking a victory pose that became iconic.
Pinehurst quickly was awarded the 2005 U.S. Open, won by Michael Campbell of New Zealand in a last-day duel with Tiger Woods. Martin Kaymer of Germany was a runaway winner in the U.S. Open last year, and Michelle Wie then followed with her breakthrough victory in a major championship by winning the U.S. Women's Open.
"The thrill of hosting an Open never goes away," Pashley said. "There are distinct memories from each Open. I remember last year feeling so proud of having so many people at Pinehurst, so many people talking about Pinehurst. We're in it and around it every day, but when the world sees it, it's invigorating.
"Each Open carves out its own identity, its own memories. It should be that way in 2024."
Pinehurst officials were expecting the USGA to break the news on the 2024 Open this week, after the playing of the British Open at St. Andrews. But the Pinehurst Village Council voted last week to approve a licensing agreement with the USGA for the 2024 championship. The agreement will include a payment of $350,000 by the USGA to the council.
“We are absolutely pleased to partner again with the USGA,” Pinehurst mayor Nancy Fiorillo said last week.
The USGA on Wednesday announced the sites for three U.S. Opens: The Country Club in Brookline, Mass. (2022), Los Angeles Country Club (2023) and Pinehurst. The 2024 Open will be played June 13-16.
“Pinehurst has elevated itself to one of the great and historic places in golf in this country,” USGA president Thomas O'Toole said. “Some say it’s our St. Andrews — it’s certainly something special, and that’s why we’re going back there for the 2024 U.S. Open.”
Having the 2014 Opens in back-to-back weeks was an economic boon. There was $140 million in visitor spending, with an economic impact of more than $238 million.
Pashley didn't completely rule out a U.S. Open-U.S. Women's Open repeat in 2024. He noted USGA made its announcement on the 2014 U.S. Women's Open site two years after its 2014 U.S. Open selection.
Pinehurst will host a pair of USGA events before the 2024 Open: the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship the 2019 U.S. Amateur. The U.S. Open will be the 11th USGA event held at Pinehurst resort.
Pinehurst No. 2, the Donald Ross masterpiece, underwent an extensive restoration before the 2014 Opens. The golf design team of Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore made such changes as narrowing fairways and adding more natural areas and native grasses, giving No. 2 a more rustic look.
The bent-grass greens on No. 2 then were replaced by Champion bermuda grass soon after the championships. Pashley said he did not anticpate any other significant changes being made, although length is always a concern because of enhanced golf technology.
Pressed to pick an early-line favorite for the 2024 U.S. Open, Pashley said Jordan Spieth, this year's U.S. Open champ, will be just 30.
"In theory he should be in his prime, and there's no telling how many Opens he may have won by then," Pashley said.