10 Courses That Could Be The Next Merion

1 of 10 Russell Kirk/USGA
Cherry Hills C.C. -- Cherry Hills Village, Colo. In 1978, the last time the Open came to this mile-high club, the tee at the par-4 first was stretched back 50 yards to prevent a repeat of 1960, when Arnold Palmer drove the green on Sunday on his way to victory. Not only did no one drive the green, no one finished the event in red numbers (Andy North won with a one-over total). In other words, despite the modern ball and the nose-bleed elevation, there are ways of defending par around these parts.
2 of 10 Russell Kirk
Garden City Golf Club -- Garden City, N.Y. One of the rare male-only golf clubs remaining in the country, it's not a politically viable venue. But the layout itself, which hosted four U.S. Amateurs and a Walker Cup in the early 1900s, seems perfectly ready to be Merion-ized.
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4 of 10 Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Newport C.C. -- Newport, R.I. "Old School" isn't just a Will Ferrell movie. It's what the USGA is all about. And it doesn't get much older than the club that hosted the first U.S. Open, way, way back in 1895. The course plays just under 7,000 yards, but as we all know now, it's not the size that matters. It's the set-up. For that, they could ask for help from Buddy Marucci, a Merion member who was runner-up to Tiger Woods here in the U.S. Amateur in 1995.
5 of 10 Rick Osentoski/Icon SMI
Inverness Club -- Toledo, Ohio Anyone who thinks it isn't tournament-worthy has issues. Major issues. Inverness has hosted six of them: four U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships (as well as two Senior Opens and a U.S. Am). Designed by Donald Ross and tweaked by the likes of A.W. Tillinghast and George Fazio, it's been modified even more recently to guard it against the modern game.
6 of 10 Patrick Drickey/Stonehouse Golf
Philadelphia C.C. -- Gladwyne, Pa. Like Merion, it's a classic test of golf with a knack for producing pedigree winners (Bryon Nelson won the U.S. Open here in 1939). Here's another connection. In 2005, it hosted qualifying rounds for the U.S. Amateur at Merion. The average score in those rounds? 74.2.
7 of 10 Larry Lambrecht
The Country Club -- Brookline, Mass. This being the centennial of Francis Ouimet's 1913 win, some people thought the Country Club would get this year's U.S. Open. What it got was a consolation prize: it will host the U.S. Amateur this summer. Not a bad parting gift, and it proves that the course has the same pedigree bones it had in 1988, when it staged the Open and Curtis Strange claimed the first of his back-to-back wins.
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North Shore Country Club -- Glen View, Ill. Two things are required at every U.S. Open: 1) a sterling course and 2) a syrupy back story. This Chicago-area classic gives us both. Designed in 1924 by the acclaimed English architect Harry Colt, it has hosted one Western Amateur and two U.S. Amateurs. It also was the stage for the 1933 U.S. Open, where Johnny Goodman became the fifth and last amateur to ever win the Open.
9 of 10 Fred Vuich/Sports Illustrated
Interlachen C.C. -- Edina, Minn. It hosted the 2002 Solheim Cup and the 2008 U.S. Women's Open, but this great Donald Ross design has a healthy history with the men, too. Like the '93 Walker Cup, and the 1930 U.S. Open, which Bobby Jones won on his way to capturing the Grand Slam. The club was also set to stage the '42 Open, but that event was cancelled due to World War II.
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Scioto C.C. -- Columbus, Ohio Built in 1916, this Donald Ross design has hosted the U.S. Open ('26), the Ryder Cup ('31), the PGA Championship ('50), the U.S. Amateur ('68) and the U.S. Senior Open ('86). Clearly, it's not half bad. It also happens to be where Jack Grout, the famed teaching professional, groomed a young talent named Jack Nicklaus. You know, the guy who won 18 majors.