Thursday, June 17, 2010

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif.-- Clear your schedules while you still have time. The United States Golf Association announced two future Open sites. One was expected, one was a slight surprise.Erin Hills, a relatively new public course in rolling farm country northwest of Milwaukee landed the 2017 Open. It had long been considered the front-runner, if not the only serious contender, for the past two years, especially since U.S. Open course setup czar Mike Davis made more than a dozen visits to the course and got a number of changes made to make it more Open-friendly.Pebble Beach landed the 2019 Open, which will mark the resort's 100th anniversary. It was also awarded the 2018 U.S. Amateur.The interesting thing about the choices was the course left unnamed. Cog Hill, the erstwhile Chicago-area course interested in hosting the big dance and maybe becoming a new Midwestern rota site for majors, didn't get the bid despite its recent renovation by designer Rees Jones, known as the Open Doctor for his experience in making courses Open-ready.The Pebble Beach bid means that Torrey Pines, despite the huge success of the 2008 Open won by Tiger Woods in a playoff, will have a longer wait to get back into the rotation, if it does at all. The difficulties of dealing with a municipal government--the city of San Diego, which is struggling financially, operates Torrey Pines--is believed to have been an issue that outweighed an otherwise mostly successful Open debut.Meanwhile, 2018 is still a blank on the schedule. With Chambers Bay in Washington in '15, Oakmont in '16, Erin Hills in '17 and Pebble Beach in '19, it seems predictable that the '18 host will be in the East. The likely frontrunners: Winged Foot, the '06 host, and Shinnecock Hills, the '04 host.

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