Historic Newport Country Club will add another chapter to its illustrious lore in 2024. In April, the United States Golf Association (USGA) announced that Newport will be the site for the 2024 U.S. Senior Open.
This will be the first USGA championship Newport has hosted since 2006.
Newport was originally scheduled to be the host site of the 2020 championship, but it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 44th U.S. Senior Open Championship will be the fifth USGA championship to be held at Newport Country Club.
In fact, Newport was the home of the inaugural U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur championships in 1895. The dates of the U.S. Senior Open are June 27-30, 2024.
“This championship will add another chapter to the storied 130-year history between the USGA and Newport Country Club,” says Eric Mills, Senior Manager, 2024 U.S. Senior Open Championship. “It is in our USGA DNA to conduct championships at historical golf landmarks like Newport Country Club.
“Newport is a bucket-list destination for many Americans. Founded in 1703, as a waterfront city Newport presents a beautiful array of summertime festivities ranging from sailing, beaches, cuisine, golf and more. Off the course, we anticipate the players enjoying the opportunity to explore everything the city has to offer.”
Newport will become the sixth club to have held a U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open, U.S. Amateur, and U.S. Senior Open.
The other clubs to have hosted those four USGA championships are Cherry Hills, Hazeltine National, Oakmont, Pinehurst, and Winged Foot.
Newport club president Barclay Douglas, Jr. relates, “We are excited to have the opportunity to host the 2024 U.S. Senior Open Championship. The state of Rhode Island, the city of Newport, and the club are enthusiastic to support this USGA championship.
“Our ‘City by the Sea’ will be enhanced by having the world’s best senior players compete for the Francis D. Ouimet Memorial Trophy on our historic Tillinghast course.”
Historic is a fitting moniker for Newport Country Club. William F. Davis designed the course as a nine-hole layout in 1894. It was expanded to 18 holes in 1899, remodeled in 1923, and underwent a restoration in 2005.
Golf historians will note that Newport co-founder Theodore A. Havemeyer was the USGA’s first president. The Havemeyer Trophy is still presented annually to the U.S. Amateur champion. In that first U.S. Open back in 1895, Englishman Horace Rawlins scored a two-stroke victory over Willie Dunn to claim the championship covering 36 holes – four trips around the original 9 hole Newport course.
100 years later, the U.S. Amateur returned to Newport part of the USGA’s centennial celebration. Tiger Woods won the second of his three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles by defeating Buddy Marucci.
No one will forget the epic 18-hole playoff in the 2006 U.S. Women’s Open Championship at Newport. Annika Sorenstam shot a 1-under-par 70 to defeat Pat Hurst by four strokes. The two players were tied at even-par 284 after 72 holes. Sorenstam recorded her third U.S. Women’s Open victory, tying her for third for most wins behind Betsy Rawls and Mickey Wright.
Mills talks about the challenges that Newport presents to golfers.
“It is virtually uncharted territory for a vast majority of the 156-player field competing for the U.S. Senior Open title.
“The wind prevails out of the south and has a tendency to switch directions from sunup to sundown. With parts of the golf course just feet away from the Atlantic Ocean, the severity of the wind will inevitably be part of the storyline.”
He continues, “The Tillinghast course layout will keep the players busy, especially around the green complexes. In order to win, each part of the player’s game needs to be on point and they will have to use all 14 clubs in their bag.
“The course provides an exemplary balance of golf holes where both risk and conservative play will be rewarded. Finding that balance will be the key.”
In 2017, noted golf architect Gil Hanse was hired to examine the course. The next year, based on Hanse’s suggestions, changes were made to five fairway bunkers – three on the 2nd hole and two on the 6th hole. Hanse also advised that Newport’s greens be reverted to their original size.
Bernhard Langer won this year’s 2023 U.S. Senior Open at SentryWorld. Langer, who turns 66 on August 27, became the oldest champion in history and the winningest PGA Tour Champions golfer ever with 46 titles, besting Hale Irwin.
Langer won the Masters in 1985 and 1993. His win at SentryWorld marked his second U.S. Senior Open victory. The 2024 gives Langer an opportunity for a third title and brings a major golf tournament to a sports-loving region.
“New England is one of the best sports markets in the world,” says Mills. “Newport is 40 miles from Gillette Stadium, 59 miles from Fenway Park, 61 miles from TD Garden, and 60 miles south of The Country Club in Brookline. This is a region of champions.
“Fans who attend the 2024 U.S. Senior Open at Newport will see 156 of the world’s best professional and amateur golfers over the age of 50 and the grand stage of a beautiful Tillinghast golf course right on the ocean.
“Seldom do we see golf courses with back-to-back par 3s, but Newport Country Club has it. Holes 4 and 5 will be incredibly fun to watch during the championship. The golf season in most of New England is short due to winter, but New England sports and golf fans show up and are extremely loyal and embracive.”
John Molori is an author and columnist for numerous publications. Like him on Facebook at John Molori, Twitter @MoloriMedia. Email email@example.com.