The U.S. Open is returning to Winged Foot, the New York club with a history of clutch moments and one unforgettable collapse.
The U.S. Golf Association will announce today that the West Course at Winged Foot will host the 2020 U.S. Open. Only two other courses – Oakmont and Baltusrol – will have held the national championship more times.
“Winged Foot offers a spectacular setting in a dynamic market, and has justifiably earned its reputation as one of the premier U.S. Open venues in the nation,” said Thomas O’Toole Jr., vice president of the USGA and head of its championship committee. “And it joins an impressive lineup of future U.S. Open Championship locations that players and fans alike can eagerly anticipate.”
Winged Foot was designed by A.W. Tillinghast in 1923 and hosted its first U.S. Open six years later, when amateur Bobby Jones delivered one of the biggest shots in championship history with a 12-foot putt on the final hole to force a 36-hole playoff. He won the next day by 23 shots over Al Espinosa.
The most recent trip to Winged Foot was memorable for all the wrong reasons – not for Geoff Ogilvy winning with a superb up-and-down from below the 18th green, but for Phil Mickelson blowing his best chance to win the U.S. Open.
Mickelson had a one-shot lead when his drive bounced off corporate tents to the left of the 18th fairway. He went for the green and his 3-iron struck a tree and dropped straight down, his next shot plugged in a bunker and he make double bogey to lose by one.
“I am such an idiot,” he famously said that day.
Winged Foot also is where former USGA President Sandy Tatum offered the defining comment for the U.S. Open. “Our intention is not to embarrass the greatest players in the world, but to identify them,” he said in 1974, when Hale Irwin won at 7-over 287.
Billy Casper won his first U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 1959. Fuzzy Zoeller won in 1984 in a playoff over Greg Norman, who holed a long putt across the 18th green for par. Zoeller, thinking the Shark had made birdie, jokingly waved a white towel. It only got Norman into a Monday playoff, and the next day, Zoeller won so handily that Norman waved a white towel walking up the final fairway.
The U.S. Open returns this year to Merion, and then will go to Pinehurst No. 2 (2014), Chambers Bay outside Tacoma (2015), Oakmont (2016), Erin Hills (2017), Shinnecock Hills (2018), Pebble Beach (2019) and then Winged Foot.