The USGA announced on Monday that the U.S. Open will return to Winged Foot in 2028, filling out the entire slate for the 2020s with a golf course that has been the site of some of the most famous major championships in history. This will be Winged Foot’s seventh U.S. Open with the first coming in 1929 when Bobby Jones took down Al Espinosa in a playoff.
Winged Foot joins a big hitter’s list of golf courses the USGA has lined up over the next seven editions of its most prominent golf tournament. Here’s a look at the venues that will host U.S. Opens for the remainder of the decade.
- 2023: Los Angeles Country Club
- 2024: Pinehurst No. 2
- 2025: Oakmont Country Club
- 2026: Shinnecock Hills golf Club
- 2027: Pebble Beach Golf Links
- 2028: Winged Foot Golf Club
- 2029: Pinehurst No. 2
- 2030: Merion Golf Club
This is an extraordinary list. All elite golf courses, all worthy major championship venues. If we’re being completely honest, Pebble Beach might actually be the worst course on this list. If Pebble is the worst course in your group of venues, then something has gone very well for your organization. I realize it sounds nuts to disparage one of the most iconic golf courses in the country, but I’m not sure what option I’m left with considering this group of heavy hitters.
Winged Foot has traditionally been one of the most interesting tests in major championship golf. Its crazy slopes, mind-bending greens and crisp edges have provided the best players in the world some of their biggest challenges over the years.
“Winged Foot has provided the backdrop for some of the most dramatic moments in the history of our sport, with many of golf’s legendary champions being crowned on the club’s iconic West Course,” said John Bodenhamer, USGA chief championships officer in a statement. “We strive to provide players with the greatest stages on which to compete for a national championship, and there are few stages as grand as Winged Foot.”
This is certainly true, although Winged Foot — all 7,500 yards of it — isn’t what it once was. Most recently, Bryson DeChambeau torched the course en route to his first major victory in 2020 over Matthew Wolff and Louis Oosthuizen. Much consternation emanated from that major given DeChambeau’s style — hit it as far as humanly possible on a course with few penalty areas, find it and do it again — seemingly did not fit a classic, iconic venue the way many people thought it should.
“I don’t really know what to say because that’s just the complete opposite of what you think a U.S. Open champion does,” said Rory McIlroy at the time of DeChambeau’s victory. “Look, he’s found a way to do it. Whether that’s good or bad for the game, I don’t know, but it’s … not the way I saw this golf course being played or this tournament being played. It’s kind of hard to really wrap my head around it.”
Was Winged Foot, gasp, outdated?
The real answer is that a lack of restriction on equipment is eventually going to make all courses — modern, historic or otherwise — outdated eventually, and it’s going to be fascinating to see where we’re at with the golf ball and golf clubs when this U.S. Open comes around again five years from now. Winged Foot’s big problem is that its footprint can’t really expand any more than it already has.
None of that should matter in 2028, but it certainly will in 2048 or 2068 when golfers are driving the ball 450 yards with ease.
All of that is neither here nor there at the present moment. Winged Foot rocks, and having another U.S. Open there should be a tremendous addition to the major championship schedule for both the USGA and major championships in general.