No. 2 Gets Two Opens in 2014
The love affair between the United States Golf Association and Pinehurst has reached fever pitch with the announcement that both the men's and Women's U.S. Open Championships will be held on Pinehurst Resort's No. 2 Course in back-to-back weeks in 2014.
The men's Open, which was held on the Donald Ross masterpiece in 1999 and 2005, was already scheduled to return in 2014. But the Women's Open, which has been held at neighboring Pine Needles three times in recent years, was a surprise move.
The official announcement of the combined championships will be released Monday, according to USGA officials.
"We're doing a doubleheader," USGA Executive Director David Fay told Golf Digest, which reported the story on Saturday. "We're going for the twin-bill. I think this is going to be an opportunity where people might put the image of Ernie Banks (Chicago Cubs star) up on the wall. Let's play two."
If the USGA felt that its championship needed an extra buzz, this unprecedented maneuver could be just the ticket.
"This (Pinehurst No. 2) is a very good course to try this," Fay said. "It's a resort and the ownership is willing to do it, which might not be the same with a private club."
Another factor is the economy. Golf tournaments at every level are feeling the effects of the recession, as evidenced by the lack of the usual number of corporate tents at Bethpage Black, the site of the men's Open being held this week in New York.
"There's gong to be a volume discount on certain things -- tents, grandstands," Fay said. "For the broadcast partners -- ESPN and NBC -- the same deal. You don't have to break down the circus and move to another town."
"It's fun to be part of making history in the game of golf, so certainly it made sense from that standpoint," Pinehurst Resort CEO and owner Bob Dedman, was reported as saying. "But I think it makes a lot of sense for the USGA. The ability to challenge both the men's and women's golfers on the same venue, both tough and fair championships. I think it's going to be exciting to see how well both the men and women do on it."
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