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Shoal Creek Pegged to Host 2018 U.S. Women's Open
The USGA has announced that Shoal Creek near Birmingham, Ala., will host the 2018 U.S. Women's Open Championship.
"Shoal Creek has a great track record as a championship site and the USGA is quite pleased to partner with the club for a U.S. Women's Open," said Daniel B. Burton, USGA vice president and chairman of the Championship Committee. "We regard Shoal Creek as a wonderful test of golf and are confident it will again shine as a competitive venue for a USGA national championship."
To be held May 31-June 3, the 2018 U.S. Women's Open will be the third USGA championship at Shoal Creek. In 1986, Stewart "Buddy" Alexander won the U.S. Amateur, defeating Chris Kite, 5 and 3, in the final. In 2008, Cameron Peck captured the U.S. Junior Amateur, with his 10-and-8 victory over Evan Beck the largest winning margin in the history of the event.
"Shoal Creek is deeply honored to host the greatest women's golf championship in the world," said Shoal Creek president Mike Thompson. "We feel that hosting the 2018 U.S. Women's Open is a testimony to the quality of our golf course and the dedication of our members. We hope it is a great event for the golf fans of Alabama, the Southeast and beyond. We thank the USGA for the opportunity to work together on this prestigious championship."
Starting in 2018, the USGA will move the U.S. Women's Open to dates ahead of the U.S. Open. "Conducting the U.S. Women's Open earlier in the year will allow the USGA to provide optimum playing conditions for the world's best players across a broader variety of the country's finest golf courses," Burton said.
The U.S. Women's Open has been held prior to the U.S. Open only three times in its 69-year history, all within a five-year period. Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, in Southern Pines, N.C., hosted the 1996 championship from May 30-June 2, and the 2001 championship from May 31-June 3. Old Waverly Golf Club, in West Point, Miss., hosted the 1999 championship from June 3-6.
Shoal Creek was designed by Jack Nicklaus and opened for play November 1, 1977. Three U.S. Open champions - Hubert Green (1977), Nicklaus (1962, 1967, 1972 and 1980) and Jerry Pate (1976) - played in the inaugural round.
Shoal Creek made unwanted headlines before the start of the 1990 PGA Championship, when reporters learned that the club had no African-American members. Club founder Hall Thompson said then that the club would not be pressured to accept African-Americans, noting "This is our home, and we pick and choose who we want."
Thompson's remarks led to nationwide protests, and sponsors pulled advertising from the tournament. The PGA of America considered moving the major away from Shoal Creek, but eventually the club invited local insurance executive Louis J. Willie to become a member. The Shoal Creek controversy also led all the major golf associations to change their rules to accept only host courses that met inclusive membership requirements.
Beyond its USGA history, Shoal Creek hosted the 1984 and 1990 PGA Championships, won by Lee Trevino and Wayne Grady, respectively. Since 2011, Shoal Creek has hosted the Regions Tradition, a major on the Champions Tour. Kenny Perry won the 2014 Regions Tradition May 18.
Shoal Creek has also held numerous collegiate events, including the 1978 Southeastern Conference Championship and the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate Invitational, as well as several state and regional amateur events, including the 2010 Southern Amateur Championship.
The 2018 U.S. Women's Open will be the sixth USGA championship conducted in the state of Alabama. Most recently, the Country Club of Birmingham was the site of the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship won by Mike McCoy. Lakewood Golf Club, in Point Clear, hosted the 1974 and 1986 U.S. Senior Women's Amateur Championships, won by Justine B. Cushing and Constance Guthrie, respectively.
The 2014 U.S. Women's Open will be contested on Course No. 2 at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C., a week after the U.S. Open takes place on the same course. The 2015 U.S. Women's Open will be at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club July 9-12, the 2016 championship July 7-10 at CordeValle in San Martin, Calif., and the 2017 U.S. Women's Open July 13-16 at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
Portions of the above report are courtesy of the USGA. For more information, visit www.usga.org.