When the USGA announced the decision to hold the US Open and US Women’s Open in back to back weeks on the same golf course, it was no surprise when it was met with some trepidation. With 450 competitive rounds of golf to be played by the men just 4 days before the ladies were to tee it up, the move was a peculiar one. At the time they announced the move, Mike Davis was quoted as saying, “The real issue is we just want to compare the best male professionals in the world with the best female professionals in the world.” What made this such a dubious claim, was the obvious financial gains to be had from staging only one site. When you factor in the the likely TV ratings bump from being on the back of the Men’s event, it was easy to read between the lines. Davis and company, nonetheless held firm that this would be a crowning achievement for the USGA and for Women’s Golf.
“The greens are perfect,”
As it turns out, he was absolutely right. An ESPNW piece on the conditions of the course during the Women’s Open has some interesting quotes from some of the players most outspoken about the move. World #1 Stacy Lewis who was critical of the setup in the weeks leading up to the event told ESPNW “It’s a lot better than what I thought it was going to be,” and “The greens are perfect,”. “On [the LPGA] Tour, a lot of weeks we don’t get good greens like this. Honestly, it’s a treat for us to be playing on these good, fast greens.” In the end, the impact from the Men’s event was insignificant. While some of the collection areas and greenside turf was damaged, the fairways and greens remained relatively fresh. And to some, like 2007 US Women’s Open Champion Christie Kerr, it’s a small price to pay for the extra exposure. “It’s important because people need to see how good we are,” Kerr said. “We need to be on these big stages. We’re elevating the game more by playing on this great venue.” With Michelle Wie’s rousing victory garnering the attention that it did, don’t be surprised to see more of this from the USGA in the future.