For Immediate Release January 22, 2009
USGA and Western Golf Alliance reach compromise on Open location
2010 United States championship allowed to proceed as planned
LAS VEGAS. After two days of closed-door negotiations, the Western Golf Alliance and the United States Golf Association reached a mutual agreement today regarding the use of the Pebble Beach Golf Links in the summer of 2010. Under the agreement, the U.S. Open will be permitted to proceed as planned. The WGA announced general terms of the agreement from the Mandalay Bay Resort, site of the Board of Directors' annual winter meeting.
A potential conflict came to light when the Pebble Beach Golf Links submitted a preliminary bid to host the 2010 Western Golf Alliance Open. The WGA bid process stipulates that, if a course is selected, they must forgo hosting other events within six months of the WGA Open if those events require significant modification to either facilities use or course set-up. Thus, selecting Pebble Beach for the 2010 WGA Open would have required that the 2010 U.S. Open find an alternate location. Under the negotiated agreement, the WGA will not select any of the Pebble Beach properties for their 2010 event, and the USGA will notify the WGA in advance whenever they select any west coast venue for future USGA competitions.
"Quite frankly, we felt this was the right thing to do," said Peter McGarry, WGA president. "We understand that some people consider the U.S. Open to be a major event. It is appropriate that Pebble Beach fulfills its commitment to the USGA, regardless of how much they may prefer to host the Western Golf Alliance members."
"I would call this more of a delay than a rejection of Pebble Beach," McGarry continued. "While we do not offer guarantees to any course regarding our future plans, Pebble Beach can be confident they will be considered for a future WGA Open."
"I think it is reasonable to state that, through our generosity and flexibility, the Western Golf Alliance may well have saved the grand sport of golf in the United States," concluded McGarry.
Ironically, a similar incident occurred in 2008, when the Torrey Pines Corporation prepared a preliminary bid for the WGA Open, which included moving the U.S. Open to the Torrey Pines 'North' course to free up the 'South' course for the WGA. Since the WGA Open is typically played over multiple courses, the WGA balked at the possible impacts associated with the overall facilities, and Torrey Pines reluctantly withdrew their bid for the WGA Open.
In a magnanimous demonstration of good faith, and to avoid any possible future conflict, the WGA also officially acknowledged the USGA's selection of Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington, for both the 2010 U.S. Amateur and the 2015 U.S. Open, and granted permission for the USGA to proceed with both tournaments.
For their part, the USGA was breathing a collective sigh of relief. While the USGA has refused to comment publicly on this subject, sometimes even saying that no such conflict existed, a USGA official close to the negotiations described the organization as "relieved."
"The USGA could not have recovered from being dropped by Pebble Beach," said one official, who wished to remain unnamed. "The USGA is grateful to the Western Golf Alliance for supporting the claim that Pebble needed to honor their prior commitment. We plan the U.S. Open years in advance, and to find a replacement venue on even 18 months notice would have been very difficult."
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About the Western Golf Alliance: The Western Golf Alliance is the premier golf organization in the United States. The WGA exists to further the greatness of this grand sport of golf through the improvement of golf play by its members, the promotion of golf rules, etiquette, and tradition, and the ability to gather together from time to time for golf events and tournaments. The regional organization spans five western states, and is organized into nine geographic regions. Further information is available at http://www.westerngolf.org/. About the United States Golf Association: The United States Golf Association (USGA) has served as the national governing body of golf for the U.S., its territories and Mexico since its formation in 1894. It's a non-profit organization run by golfers for the benefit of golfers. The Association sponsors a variety of programs that benefits everyone who plays the game, from conducting 13 national championships each year, to writing and interpreting the Rules of Golf, to funding turf grass and course maintenance practices, to supporting grassroots programs through its “For the Good of the Game” initiative. Further information is available at http://www.usga.org/.