The USGA took the first step towards moving past the nightmarish final round at the 2004 U.S. Open at Shinncock Hills by announcing on Wednesday that the course in Southampton, N.Y., would be hosting the 2018 U.S. Open.
Seven years after one of the most brutal final rounds in U.S. Open history -- no player in the field broke par -- the course, and the USGA, will once again try their best to prove that a National Open can be held on one of the most historic and picturesque courses in the world.
The lasting image we all have of the 2004 U.S. Open wasn't of Retief Goosen hoisting the trophy. Rather, it was the image of current USGA executive director Mike Davis walking onto the green par-3 seventh hole on Sunday, after three of the first four players watched their balls roll off the green, and pulling the flag from the hole. For the rest of the final round, a maintenance crew was on hand to water the green between every group.
The USGA learned from the final round that there's a fine line between "firm and fast," and unplayable conditions in a U.S. Open.
"What happened in '04 was simply an error in judgment in terms of water management on how we set the golf course up," Davis said in his Wednesday press conference. "Any time we can play a U.S. Open on a sand-based, sandy-loamed soil is a great thing, and then you add the wind to it, I think it'll be fabulous."
Needless to say, officials will be hoping to avoid that same situation in 2018. But considering Shinnecock is one of the USGA's five founding clubs, you knew they couldn't stay away forever. Expect a firm but fair course when players show up in seven years.