Historic Newport C.C.: A Course Where Legacies Are Forged
November 22, 2019 | Liberty Corner, N.J.
By David Shefter, USGA
From the moment Annika Sorenstam arrived at the historic Newport Country Club for the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open, she sensed it would be a special week. The Swedish-born star had just become an American citizen seven days earlier, and she quickly took to the historic Rhode Island town.
Evening strolls among the sprawling turn-of-the-century mansions only further emphasized that one of the USGA’s five founding clubs was hosting the biggest championship in women’s golf. In 1895, Newport was the site of the inaugural U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur, and 100 years later, Tiger Woods claimed the U.S. Amateur for the second of three consecutive triumphs.
Who better to add to the club’s legacy than one of the greatest female players of all-time?
“To win on a beautiful venue that is one of the USGA’s five founding clubs made it even more special,” said Sorenstam. “I had won my first two U.S. Women’s Opens [in 1995 and 1996] and then didn’t win again for 10 years. I really felt like I wanted to win another one.”
Newport Country Club’s next chapter in its glorious history takes place next June when the 41st U.S. Senior Open comes to town. It is yet another opportunity for this golf-passionate area to see the likes of 2018 champion Steve Stricker, two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and 2010 champion Bernhard Langer as well as several prominent newcomers to the 50-and-older set. Five-time major champion Phil Mickelson, along with U.S. Open champions Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and Angel Cabrera all will be eligible for the championship.
Given Newport Country Club’s close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, breezy conditions are often a critical part of the test.
“Course management will be key, along with the ability to control your ball under windy conditions,” says Sorenstam. “I remember the bunkers were very well placed off the tee, so accuracy will be a key.”
The player who raises the U.S. Senior Open trophy will have not only conquered a stellar field and challenging course but will have won at one of the country’s historic venues. Under the intense pressure of major-championship golf, however, they’ll do well to channel Sorenstam’s legendary focus.
“To be honest, as you are playing, you really aren’t thinking about the course or the history,” she said. “You are just taking one shot at a time and trying to play your best golf. [But] looking back after the fact it was very special.”
And next June, another player will add his name to the championship legacy at Newport.
David Shefter is a senior staff writer for the USGA. Email him at email@example.com.