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. 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.
Martin Kaymer poses for pictures during the trophy presentation of the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort & C.C. in Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Sunday, June 15, 2014. (Copyright USGA/John Mummert)
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.”
– Lee Pace