The USGA made rumors official Wednesday morning when they announced that the U.S. Open will return to Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in 2018.
The announcement, which came a day before the start of the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club, awards the storied Southampton club it’s fifth U.S. Open. Shinnecock Hills’ first, in 1896, was the second Open ever played.
USGA President Jim Hyler said Wednesday they were thrilled to return the national championship to one of the “countries most-storied venues.”
“We are confident that Shinnecock Hills will provide a true challenge for the world’s premier players, as it has for more than a century,” he said.
However, the return to Shinnecock didn’t come without debate. The course received heavy criticism —by both the players and public —the last time it hosted a U.S. Open in 2004, which was won by South Africa’s Retief Goosen. Many players said the USGA’s setup was unfair and that the greens were nearly unplayable. The lack of rain and water made the conditions rock solid, which prevented incoming approach shots from holding the greens.
Hyler admitted the USGA let the course get away from them on the final round and said they used that as a “wholesome learning experience.”
The 2018 Open will be the eighth USGA championship played at Shinnecock and it’s the only club to host U.S. Opens in three different centuries.
“The only thing that’s going to be done at Shinnecock Hills are some new teeing grounds,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “And the whole reason for that is to try to, in our opinion, bring the wonderful William Flynn designs back into play.”