Erin Hills ready to host the 2017 U.S. Open
Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and the rest of the top golfers in the world will travel to Wisconsin for the 92nd PGA Championship in August at Whistling Straits.
They'll be back when that tournament returns to the lakeside track in Haven, just north of Sheboygan, for its 97th edition in 2015.
And, if all goes according to plan, the biggest names in the game will visit Wisconsin again for the U.S. Open in 2017.
The United States Golf Association is expected to announce that the tournament -- which has never been held in Wisconsin -- will be awarded to Erin Hills, the 4-year-old public course located three miles from Holy Hill and about a half-hour northwest of Milwaukee.
The USGA will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. today at Pebble Beach, site of this year's U.S. Open. The announcement, however, is regarded as a formality.
The Chicago Tribune reported today that Frank Jemsek, the CEO of Cog Hill, a suburban Chicago course considered to be Erin Hills' primary competitor for the 2017 Open, was disappointed by the decision.
"When Jack Nicklaus lost a tournament, he wasn't happy about it, but he lost gracefully," Jemsek, described as "the patriarch of Chicago public golf," told the Tribune's Teddy Greenstein.
"We hope to lose gracefully today, but to emerge victorious tomorrow."
Erin Hills, which is currently undergoing renovations that will keep the course closed until July 31, hosted the 2008 U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links tournament and has been tabbed to stage the 2011 U.S. Amateur, which was considered a prerequisite for hosting the U.S. Open.
Erin Hills was built by Delafield developer Robert Lang, who envisioned a U.S. Open before the course design was finished. Lang sold the course to millionaire Andrew Ziegler, who has presided over changes to the turf and greens and is planning to add a number of cottages, a maintenance facility and a new structure with locker rooms and offices.
Erin Hills is a public course, which makes it perfect for the U.S. Open, which is regarded as "the people's championship."
Established in 1895, the U.S. Open is the second of golf's four major championships, joining the Masters, the British Open and the PGA. The U.S. Open is held in mid-June and would likely bring thousands fans and visitors to southeastern Wisconsin. It's not unusual for galleries at the U.S. Open to approach 50,000.
The field for the U.S. Open consists of 156 players, about half of whom are exempt from qualifying. The rest must survive a two-stage process that features local qualifying, played over 18 holes at 100 courses around the country, and sectional qualifying, which features 36 holes in one day at several sites in the U.S., Europe and Japan.
The purse for the tournament is roughly $7.5 million, with the winner's share at about $1.4 million. Lucas Glover is the defending champion. Tiger Woods has won the title three times, tying him with Hale Irwin for second on the all-time list behind four-time winners Willie Anderson, Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan.
The USGA board voted on the 2017 site during a meeting in February, but kept its decision secret until the press conference today. After the tournament at Pebble Beach wraps this weekend, preparations will begin for the 2011 tournament, which will be held at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
The 2012 tournament will be held at The Olympic Club in San Francisco, followed by Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa,. (2013), Pinehurst in North Carolina (2014), Chambers Bay in University Place, Wash., (2015) and Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania (2016).
Nice work, but this is old news. This was reported on http://belling.com/ six days ago.
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