When the USGA’s Mike Davis looks back on the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst, what does he see? Two of the most important weeks in the long history of the U.S. Open and the USGA
By LEE PACE
USGA Executive Director Mike Davis is a keen historian of golf and says when asked to talk about the most memorable and important U.S. Opens in history, he thinks of 1900 at Chicago Golf Club, where Harry Vardon won his first Open—“That was the one that took the Open from a small, mostly regional event into a national and international competition,” Davis says.
He thinks of 1913 at Brookline, when American Francis Ouimet bested the top players from Great Britain —“The game had been dominated by players from the U.K., and here an unknown American wins. It was the kickoff of the great American golfer,” Davis says.
He thinks of Arnold Palmer winning at Cherry Hills in 1960, beating an aging Ben Hogan and a young Jack Nicklaus; of Nicklaus and Tom Watson winning at Pebble in 1972 and ’82, respectively; and of Tiger Woods’ playoff win over Rocco Mediate on a broken leg at Torrey Pines in 2008.
“In a few years from now, I think we’ll look back on the 114th U.S. Open and the 69th Women’s Open and say that in a lot of ways, it was a seminal moment in the game of golf.” – Mike Davis, USGA Executive Director
And he’ll now think of the two weeks in June 2014 at Pinehurst No. 2, when Martin Kaymer and Michelle Wie won back-to-back the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open.
“We saw this year we don’t have to have real narrow fairways, we don’t have to have to have long, rough grass to have successful U.S. Opens,” Davis says. “In a few years from now, I think we’ll look back on the 114th U.S. Open and the 69th Women’s Open and say that in a lot of ways, it was a seminal moment in the game of golf and championship golf and sustainability of the game. These two weeks will rank right up there with the best ever.
“We have to celebrate how well Martin Kaymer played and how Michelle Wie won her first major championship. It was a great story on water use and a great story of the restoration of one of the great golf courses in the country—in the world, for that matter. It’s going to be hard to give these two weeks enough accolades for what they’re going to mean to the game.”