2015 U.S. Open headed to new public course in Tacoma

Updated: February 8, 2008, 11:22 AM ET
Associated Press

UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. -- Seven months after it opened for public play, Chambers Bay can start preparing for the U.S. Open.

Chambers Bay, built over a former gravel pit along the lower Puget Sound southwest of Seattle, was awarded the 2015 U.S. Open on Friday. It will be the first U.S. Open held in the Pacific Northwest.

"This is the first time the U.S. Open has been to Washington, and we are confident that the golf course will provide a challenging test for the best players in the world," said Jim Hyler, chairman of the USGA's championship committee.

The announcement was made at the USGA's annual meeting in Houston.

Taking the U.S. Open to Chambers Bay signals a continuing shift toward municipal courses. When the 2015 U.S. Open is played, it will be the third time in an eight-year period that the national championship is played on a public golf course. Torrey Pines in San Diego will host the U.S. Open this year, followed by Bethpage Black on Long Island (which also hosted the U.S. Open in 2002).

Pierce County invested $21 million in Chambers Bay, which was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. with the goal of landing a major. The USGA also awarded the 2010 U.S. Amateur to Chambers Bay.

"Our hard work has paid off, as we have done everything possible to attract the attention of a prestigious championship," Pierce County executive John Ladenburg said. "Even so, we never dreamed we'd be chosen by the USGA to host both the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open championships. Especially not so close to the opening of the course. It is a true honor."

The last time the U.S. Open went to such a new golf course was in 1970 at Hazeltine, a private club in Minnesota that was designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and opened for play in 1962.

The Scottish-style course, featuring sandy terrain, views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains and only one tree, opened in June 2007 and has been named "Best New Course of the Year" by Golf Magazine, second-best new course by Golfweek, and 2007 Course of the Year by Travel & Leisure golf magazine.

Based on past U.S. Opens, county executive John Ladenburg predicted that with capacity attendance of 60,000 to 64,000, the total economic impact would be at least $100 million, compared with $50 million taken in for the 2001 baseball All-Star Game in Seattle.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press