Announcement Excites Leaders
Local leaders are ecstatic that Pinehurst will be at the center of the golf universe in June 2014.
On Monday, the United States Golf Association made a blockbuster announcement that Pinehurst No. 2 will host both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open championships consecutively in June 2014. It is the first time that the two national championships will be played back-to-back on the same course.
"I'm very happy," Pinehurst Mayor George Lane said. "I think it's good for Pinehurst. Pinehurst is a beautiful place to be. It's a destination, and we want to attract as many people as we can to this area of North Carolina. It's great for the sport."
News of the looming announcement leaked over the weekend when Golf World magazine reported it Saturday. It will be the third time Pinehurst has hosted the Open in 15 years and the first time it has ever hosted the Women's Open. Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines hosted the women's championships in 1996, 2001 and 2007.
The major golf championships have had a profound economic impact on the area and the past. Caleb Miles, president and CEO of the area's Convention and Visitors' Bureau, said it is still early to estimate just how hosting two huge championships in a row will impact Moore County, and that he will be meeting with representatives from both Pinehurst Resort and the USGA to discuss the specific ramifications.
But he thinks having the championships together will amplify the media spotlight on the area even more.
"It's certainly some great news," he said. "It certainly comes at a time when we could use it. There's probably going to be some extended economic benefits [by having the tournaments together]."
Patrick Coughlin, president of the Moore County Chamber of Commerce, said he heard about the announcement "through the grapevine" at church on Sunday.
"It's absolutely tremendous," he said by phone Tuesday. "It's unprecedented, but to have the two events back-to-back at Pinehurst, there's not a better country club in the nation to do this."
He said there is much work to be done and preparations needed to start right away. He believed that not only is a great deal of community support necessary, but also regional support. He said the payoff for the area could be huge.
"We might be seeing an impact that is much greater than taking the two events separately and adding them together," he said.
Some estimates have placed the economic impact of the two championships being here back to back at nearly $100 million.
Ron Crow has been a volunteer at golf tournaments for 35 years and has been involved with about every major tournament in the area. He was the volunteer chairman for the 2005 U.S. Open and the general chairman for the 2008 U.S Amateur. He has also been chairman of the North and South Amateur championships since 2000.
He expressed excitement over the announcement and said he had never heard of anything like this ever happening.
"This will be the most unique event that will ever happen in golf," he said. "I can't recall another venue like this at all."
Crow said it's really premature to know how the volunteer structure would work for the two championships, but he's "firmly convinced" it will be fine. He said playing the Women's Open on the same course as the men would provide a boost for the women. He noted that many of the past winners of the women's North and South are now on the LPGA tour, and the Women's Open will be sort of a homecoming for them.
He called Pinehurst's selection to host both tournaments a "true compliment" to the Sandhills area and its residents. He said Pinehurst was the best place to do it.
He added, "I look at it as being a great opportunity for not only the Pinehurst Resort but also the entire area."
Contact John Krahnert III at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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