During a morning press conference that kicked off the USGA’s 2016 Annual Meeting at the Hotel del Coronado, three outstanding host sites were announced as venues for future USGA women’s championships. First up was the selection of The Olympic Club, in San Francisco, Calif., as the host site of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open Championship. The championship, considered the world’s premier women’s golf event, will be held June 3-6.
The 2021 U.S. Women’s Open will be the 11th USGA championship contested on The Olympic Club’s Lake Course, and it will mark the first USGA women’s championship for the five-time U.S. Open host site. The first of those U.S. Opens, in 1955, was won in an 18-hole playoff by Jack Fleck over Ben Hogan, one of the biggest upsets in sports history. In 1966, Billy Casper outlasted Arnold Palmer in a Monday playoff after Palmer surrendered a seven-stroke lead over the final nine holes on Sunday. Additionally, Scott Simpson (1987), Lee Janzen (1998) and Webb Simpson (2012) each earned come-from-behind U.S. Open victories at The Olympic Club.
“We are thrilled to bring the U.S. Women’s Open to The Olympic Club, site of so many significant USGA moments, for the first time in 2021,” said Diana Murphy, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman. “Eleven outstanding players are enshrined in the USGA Museum’s Hall of Champions by winning at The Olympic Club, and we look forward to adding the 76th U.S. Women’s Open champion to that illustrious list.”
The Lake Course at The Olympic Club was designed by course superintendent Sam Whiting and opened for play in 1927. Today, the Lake Course remains true to its original design with minimal revisions. In 2015, the course hosted the inaugural U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, won by Todd White and Nathan Smith. It also served as the host site for the 1958 U.S. Amateur, won by Charles Coe; the 1981 U.S. Amateur, won by Nathaniel Crosby; the 2004 U.S. Junior Amateur, won by Sihwan Kim; and the 2007 U.S. Amateur, won by Colt Knost.
“Hosting the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open will be a magnificent moment for the membership and staff of The Olympic Club,” said John Espiritu, club president. “San Francisco and The Olympic Club share a rich history of hosting USGA national championships, and we are honored to add the U.S. Women’s Open to our championship record. We look forward to 2021 and hosting the world’s best players on our world-class course.”
The Lake Course will become the 12th course to host both the U.S. Open and the U.S. Women’s Open, joining such notable venues as Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club, Cherry Hills Country Club in Cherry Hills Village, Colo., Pinehurst Resort & Country Club’s Course No. 2 in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., and Champions Golf Club in Houston, which will host the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open on its Cypress Creek Course.
The 2021 U.S. Women’s Open will mark the fourth time the championship will be held in California, and the second time in a five-year span that it will be held in Northern California. On July 7-10, 2016, the 71st U.S. Women’s Open will be conducted at CordeValle, located in San Martin, providing fans with two upcoming opportunities to experience the ultimate championship in women’s golf.
One year ago, at the 2015 USGA Annual Meeting in New York, USGA president Tom O’Toole Jr. announced the creation of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open Championship, set to begin in 2018. This year, O’Toole revealed the first two sites for that new championship: Chicago Golf Club, in Wheaton, Ill., which will host the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open from July 12-15, 2018, and Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, in Southern Pines, N.C., which will host the second U.S. Senior Women’s Open from May 16-19, 2019.
“The USGA is proud to realize its vision of hosting national championships for players of all age demographics, and we are thrilled that the first two editions of the U.S. Senior Women’s Open will be contested at two of the most respected courses in the United States,” said O’Toole Jr. “We hope this championship will inspire generations of female golfers to continue competing at the highest level long into their careers.”
The championship will be open to professional females, and amateur females with a Handicap Index® not exceeding 7.4, who have reached their 50th birthday as of the first day of the championship. The field will include 120 players, who will earn entry into the championship via sectional qualifying at sites nationwide or through an exemption category, the details of which will be announced at a later date.
The format will mirror that of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Senior Open championships: a walking-only, 72-hole stroke play competition over four consecutive days with a 36-hole cut to the top 60 players, including ties. Prize money will be announced at a later date.
Chicago Golf Club is one of the five founding clubs of the USGA and the oldest golf club in the U.S. in continuous use at the same location. The club was founded in 1893 by Charles Blair Macdonald, who won the inaugural U.S. Amateur in 1895. The original 18-hole course was renovated in 1923 by Seth Raynor and remains largely unchanged today.
This will be Chicago Golf Club’s 12th USGA championship. The club hosted its first two USGA championships in 1897 – the U.S. Open, won by Joe Lloyd, and the U.S. Amateur, won by H.J. Whigham. It also hosted the 1900 U.S. Open, won by Harry Vardon, a six-time winner of the Open Championship, conducted by The R&A, and the 1911 U.S. Open, won by 19-year-old John J. McDermott, who survived a three-man playoff to become the championship’s first American winner. Additional USGA championships contested at the club include: the U.S. Amateur (1905, 1909 and 1912), U.S. Women’s Amateur (1903), U.S. Senior Amateur (1979), and two Walker Cup Matches, both won by the USA Team (1928 and 2005).
“As a founding member of the USGA, Chicago Golf Club is honored to support the USGA’s newest championship by hosting the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open,” said Brad Kinsey, president of Chicago Golf Club. “We look forward to making this, our 12th USGA championship, an exceptional event for players and spectators alike.”
Pine Needles will host the 2019 U.S. Senior Women’s Open from May 16-19. Designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1928, the course was most recently renovated in 2004 by John Fought, who oversaw the restoration of greens and bunkers to their original forms with the aid of vintage aerial photos.
This will be the sixth USGA championship contested at Pine Needles and the first since the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open, won by Cristie Kerr. The club, owned by women’s golf advocate, instructor and former LPGA Tour player Peggy Kirk Bell, also hosted the 1996 and 2001 U.S. Women’s Opens, won by Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb, respectively. Additionally, the 1989 U.S. Girls’ Junior and 1991 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur championships were contested at Pine Needles.
"On behalf of the Bell family and our entire community, Pine Needles is thrilled the USGA has accepted our invitation to host the 2019 U.S. Senior Women's Open Championship,” said Kelly Miller, president of Pine Needles. “Having hosted three previous U.S. Women’s Opens, we look forward to seeing some familiar faces and welcoming all competitors to this new USGA championship. I'm confident our Donald Ross-designed course will identify another great champion."