PINEHURST, N.C. (WNCN) — Less than eight months until tee off for the 124th U.S. Open Championship in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Professional Golfer, Scott Langley is looking forward to that first swing at the championship at Pinehurst No. 2.
“It will be a really fun place to be for that week as a fan and as a player,” Langley said.
The year 2014 was the last time Pinehurst hosted this national championship. There is a statue near the clubhouse at Pinehurst No. 2 as a reminder of the iconic 1999 U.S. Open Championship at Pinehurst. It encapsulates Payne Stewart’s reaction after he made a par-saving putt from 18 feet.
The United States Golf Association expects the championship to have a $200 million economic impact on the area when the event returns to Pinehurst in June of 2024.
“Being able to come here where we’ve been 4 times in the last 25 years, we’ve got sort of a proven plan that works,” Leighton Schwob, USGA Senior Director of Operations said.
Schwob said 250,000 people expected to attend the championship. This year the USGA planned to scale back the capacity numbers from the previous 300,000 to create a better experience for fans.
“We want to make sure the people are able to watch the golf and have a good experience, food and beverage lines can more quickly, merchandise, restrooms, and kind of the infrastructure. So, it’s a conscious decision to scale back a little bit on the number,” Schwob said.
Golfers probably won’t recognize Pinehurst No. 2 eight months from now. Several facilities will be built near the iconic 18th hole, including a 3,500-seat grandstand, locker rooms, and a fan engagement area.
“Here a lot of people are coming and spending 6, 7, 8 hours. Obviously, golf is the priority. They are here to watch the competition. But how do we keep them engaged all day? It’s critically important for us to find things for them to be able to do when they are not watching golf,” Schwob said.
Golfers said while Pinehurst No. 2 provides a physical challenge, it also provides a mental challenge.
“You got to have great technique because you get tough lies from time to time,” Langley said.
Getting the course ready for a nationally televised championship is key, with mother nature playing an important role.
“A cold winter, a cold spring could create challenges. But I don’t think anything that we can’t overcome,” Darin Bevard, Senior Director of Championship Agronomy said.
The 124th U.S. Open Championship is from June 10, 2024, through June 16, 2024, at Pinehurst No. 2.
For more information go to 2024 U.S. Open Golf Championship: Tickets (usopen.com)