The United States Golf Association announced Wednesday it will hold a “Celebration of Champions” event on June 12, two days before the first round of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton.
The four-hole exhibition will include most of the winners of the 2017 USGA championships, will feature Jack Nicklaus as an honorary starter and is scheduled to become an annual event. Men and women will be paired in foursomes and play alternate-shot.
“It’s just a way to really recognize and celebrate these marvelous champions,” USGA CEO Mike Davis said at Konnect Golf on Fifth Ave.
The participants are U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champion Frankie Capan; U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball champion Alice Chen; U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion Kelsey Chugg; U.S. Junior Amateur champion Noah Goodwin; U.S. Senior Amateur champion Sean Knapp; U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion Judith Kyrinis; U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matt Parziale; U.S. Senior Open champion Kenny Perry; U.S. Amateur champion Doc Redman; U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Sophia Schubert; U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball champion Taylor Totland and U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champion Ben Wong.
Last year’s U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka won’t play but will welcome the players to the event.
Shinnecock Hills is hosting the Open for the fifth time, the first time since 2004, and will host it again in 2026; Winged Foot will host the 2020 tournament. Retief Goosen won the 2004 Open, he and Phil Mickelson the only two finishing under par.
“Most people would say it’s in virtually everybody’s top-five golf courses,” Davis said. “It tests the world’s best players, it works logistically. There’s enough room on there. Getting to Eastern Long Island isn’t the easiest thing in the world to do; it’s not like there’s a ton of accommodations. But it all starts with the golf course. Beyond the design, it sits on sands so it’s a bouncy golf course. If you have rain it’s less intrusive. It’s a windy golf course. And frankly, the players love it. It’s hard, but players love it.”
There was snow at the course just last week and a long winter has slightly affected preparations for the Open.
“The superintendent says we’re about two-to-three weeks behind where it should be,” Davis said, “but it’ll be ready.”