2021 U.S. Open Site Announcement
Kevin L. Faulconer, Mayor, City of San Diego
Sherri Lightner, President Pro Tem, San Diego City Council
Daniel B. Burton, Vice President and Championship Committee Chairman, USGA
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

CHARLES CHAMBERLAYNE:  Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, I'm Charles Chamberlayne, press secretary and general advisor to the mayor.  I'd like to welcome you to Torrey Pines Golf Course.  I'd especially like to welcome the leadership of the city of San Diego, The Century Club, Torrey Pines staff, and representatives of the Southern California Golf Association, USGA, and media who have joined us today.  We are joined today by leaders from across the golf community for this very special announcement.  To make the announcement, I'd like to introduce USGA Vice President and Chairman of the USGA Championship Committee, Dan Burton.

DAN BURTON:  Thank you, Charles.  Thanks to everyone for coming.  Good afternoon.  Thank you all for being here and being part of this very significant occasion and this exciting announcement.  This day has been long anticipated, largely because the venue staged one of the greatest championships in golf and perhaps one of the greatest championships and competitions in all of sports.  Let's relive some of those memories now.

            [Video playing]

I'm good friends with Rocco [Mediate], and Rocco still gets chills watching that too.  Dramatic and exciting, and even six years later, it still has its magic.  On behalf of the USGA, our 700,000 M  embers, and our 1,200 committee volunteers, it is my honor and my privilege to formally announce that the 121st United States Open Championship will be played at Torrey Pines Golf Course, June 17 to 20th, 2021. 

USGA is honored that the city would invite the U.S. Open Championship back to Torrey Pines.  On behalf of the USGA I'm excited to say that we accept their invitation.  We'll be returning to the site of perhaps the most dramatic finish in U.S. Open history.  Tiger Woods' remarkable putt on the 72nd hole, and his playoff victory the next day over Rocco Mediate on a badly injured leg helped write a chapter in U.S. Open history that is unrivaled.

The atmosphere that surrounded the 2008 U.S. Open, whether you were here in person or glued to your television screen is what defines a National Championship.  It was quite literally one for the ages.

We are grateful to establish a close relationship with the city of San Diego, we are thankful for the cooperation between the residents of the community and the local municipalities who have made this a possibility.

We know that having the golf world come to your backyard, while exciting, does present challenges, but we sincerely expect that the experience will be one that is beneficial for all of greater San Diego.

Thank you to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Todd Gloria and the City Council as well as the City staff, especially Carolyn Wormser who led the city, for their assistance and cooperation in finalizing the planning stages that brought us to where we are today.  Through the tireless efforts of Jeff Baglio and the local supporters who continued the discussions with the USGA about a return of the U.S. Open to Torrey Pines, we also offer our thanks.

Hosting a large scale world-class event such as the United States Open takes commitment, cooperation and planning.  Without the help of our key partners in the Evans Hotel, The Lodge At Torrey Pines, The Inn At La Jolla, the Torrey Pines Club Corp., and the University of California at San Diego, whose commitments were based on what was best for the community and the city as a whole and not their individual interests, we would not be able to make this announcement today.

The city of San Diego and many key local facilities will benefit directly from the economic impact of hosting America's National Championship.  As a public facility, the city will be a direct beneficiary financially in the near term and the long‑term. Economic studies of previous championships have shown that the U.S. Open will deliver around $140 million to the local economy.

Depending on the site, the United States Open also contributes approximately $10 to $20 million as a direct expenditure that the USGA and its contractors will spend locally on services to stage the event.  Much of the money will be derived from the tourism industry, including hotels, restaurants and various entertainment sites.

The USGA has a strong connection to the state of California.  The 2021 U.S. Open will mark the 14th United States Open in the state, which includes the 2019 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links.  It will be the third U.S. Open in Southern California.

In 2008 Torrey Pines played host to one of the most exciting finishes in U.S. Open history.  The U.S. Open somehow produces great moments every year, and we'll eagerly await what transpires in 2021.  In 2021, we'll return to the South Course, the William F. Bell design and Rees Jones redesign that blends challenging natural elements with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.  Players were challenged in 2008, as only Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate broke par.

Bringing the U.S. Open to a public facility reinforces the USGA's commitment to making the game accessible to anyone who wishes to play.  As a public course owned by the City of San Diego, more than 100,000 rounds are played by golfers who enjoy the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines in an average year.

Since 2002 when the USGA conducted the United States Open on a truly public facility at Bethpage State Park's Black Course, the Association has made it a point to return to facilities open to the public.  Over the next eight years, the U.S. Open will visit sites that are considered public facilities.  Pinehurst in 2014, Chambers Bay in 2015, Erin Hills in 2017, Pebble Beach in 2019, and now, once again, Torrey Pines.

The USGA continues to promote public golf and support all golfers in its various programs, including golf Rules education, Course Rating services, and course consulting services and visits.  Our important role in pace-of-play efforts is helping golfers at public facilities to identify and reduce the time it takes to play the game. Through partnerships with national organizations such as The First Tee, LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, The PGA of America, and The National Alliance for Accessible Golf, the USGA supports numerous programs that benefit junior golfers.

We could not be more proud to accept Torrey Pines and the city of San Diego's offer to host America's National Championship.  We look forward to seeing a repeat of the excitement and passion that we saw at the 2008 U.S. Open.  Your support and continued partnership over the next seven years will be a crucial element in the success of this championship.

Now, Mayor, please join me as the USGA is pleased to present a cap emblematic of this important moment, and I'd also like to share the U.S. Open Trophy with you.

MAYOR FAULCONER:  We are so excited on behalf of everyone in San Diego to welcome the USGA back to San Diego and back to Torrey Pines.  You can feel the electricity over the last couple days as everyone was talking about it, and we're ready.  Is it 2021 yet?  This city is ready to go.  We talked about how important this championship is, not just to the city, but to the region.

So, Dan, I want to say thank you.  It is with great pleasure that we welcome the USGA back to Torrey Pines for the 2021 U.S. Open.  I think all of us know, many sports fans know that this championship is one of the great championships of any sport across the country.  Of course this great city stands ready to put on a great performance just like we did in 2008.  I think everybody who has been to Torrey Pines knows and everybody who has seen it on television knows that when you talk about a great golf course, that is Torrey South as well as Torrey North, but you see those holes along the Pacific Ocean.  It's a public course that everyone can come and participate.  We can't wait to get going, and we can't wait to get started.

More than 250,000 people attended the eight‑day event that ended with a dramatic sudden-death playoff.  And we hope that the South Course will once again provide that opportunity for a great finish and many more visitors that have the opportunity to come and experience this tremendous golf course.

I want to just say again thank you to a lot of people that helped make this day happen that's so exciting for our city.  I want to say thank you, of course, to the USGA for your confidence in San Diego, for all of the work that you have done in recognition of how this city comes together and how this region comes together to put on such a terrific championship.

I want to thank our former Interim Mayor and Council President Todd Gloria, and our Council President Pro‑tem Sherri Lightner whose district we're in today.  The city council voted to support this unanimously just a few days ago, recognizing how important this is to the city of San Diego.

Jeff Baglio and the Friends of Torrey Pines, Jeff, thank you for your tireless determination to make this happen.

I want to thank Bill Evans from The Lodge At Torrey Pines, Patrick Duffy from the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, Susan Casagranda, the Torrey Pines Club Corporation and Jeff Gattas from nearby UCSD.

Next, I want to thank all of our city staff that's here that worked so very hard over the last several months to bring this agreement to fruition and to reality.  It was abundantly clear to the USGA that the expertise and the professionalism of the city staff really make it happen, not only in 2008, but are ready to make it happen again.  We know how to put on great events, and we know how to certainly make it work, and the planning and implementation offered this city and our team an opportunity to shine.  As mayor, I'm so very proud of all of their efforts, all of their hard work that's made it to this day.

In closing, Dan, I want to thank you again for all of your confidence in the city of San Diego.  I want to thank Mike Butz.  I want to thank Brian DePasquale, Peter Kowalski of the United States Golf Association who understand how important this is and how this city is so ready to go.

The United States Golf Association has this city's full support for the 2021 U.S. Open Championship.  Our city is excited, excited for another fantastic opportunity to showcase San Diego to the rest of the world.  We're ready to go.  Thank you very much.

CHARLES CHAMBERLAYNE:  Now it's my pleasure to introduce our council President pro tem, Sherri Lightner.

SHERRI LIGHTNER:  Good afternoon.  I'd like to welcome you all to my neighborhood.  On behalf of the businesses and residents in Council District One, we are honored and thrilled that Torrey Pines Golf Course will once again host the U.S. Open Championship.  I'd like to thank Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Council President Todd Gloria, city staff, the local community, and the United States Golf Association for working together to make this happen.

Just look around and it's apparent why the USGA would want to return here.  Our fantastic weather, the warm hospitality of our local businesses and residents, and of course this glorious municipal golf course, arguably one of the most beautiful courses in the world.

A huge thanks goes to the Torrey Pines greenkeepers and maintenance crews for these lush fairways and smooth greens.  The city of San Diego will benefit greatly from hosting the 2021 U.S. Open.  This world-class sporting event will be an economic boom to our region from today's announcement until long after it ends.  We love ‑‑ we just love to showcase San Diego to sports fans around the globe.  I know golfers will want to check off, play Torrey Pines from their bucket list at least once, hopefully round after round after round after round until they can't do another round.

We look forward to shining a global spotlight right here on Torrey Pines Mesa, a major international center for science and technology as well as home to the best public golf course in the nation.  Thanks again to all of you for your tremendous work in bringing the U.S. Open back to San Diego.  We hope to see you all here in 2021.  Thanks very much.

CHARLES CHAMBERLAYNE:  Thank you for your attendance.  We have a little time for Q & A.

Q.  Mayor, can you talk about the economic benefit this region will see from an event like this?

MAYOR FAULCONER:  The main benefit we have is the economic engine of this championship.  We saw that in 2008.  We saw the thousands of room nights, the economic activity, and millions of dollars to the city's bottom line.  We know how to put on great events here in the city of San Diego and to be recognized by the USGA to come back again.  It's a huge shot in the arm to the city.  More than that I vividly remember the last championship and just the spirit from all of the volunteers across this region that came out and wanted to help, wanted to be a part of what the Open means.  There was excitement. There was electricity.

People have been talking about this in the last couple days.  They're already looking forward to 2021.  It means a lot to the bottom line of the city of San Diego, and I can't wait for it to arrive.

Q.  Dan, if I may, I think there was a period of time following the 2008 event where San Diegans were hoping to see the Open return in a much quicker fashion.  In fact, I think a lot of San Diegans had given up hope.  Can you explain to us what the turnaround was?  Certainly everyone's delighted, but can you give us some background on what happened? 

DAN BURTON:  I think because the Open is such a great economic engine for a local municipality and shines the spotlight of the sports world on a community, lots and lots of places in America would love to have the United States Open.  So we are constantly in discussion about where the best places to take the Open are.  It's a complex, comprehensive analysis.  Mike Butz leads the team in trying to figure out where the best places are.  Obviously, Southern California has some particularly great attributes.  The weather, most importantly, one of the things that most people don't ever think about is the ability to control the firmness of the greens.  In this part of California we know what the weather pattern is going to be and we're able to get the greens to the firmness that we want.  We can't do that in a lot of places.

If you understand high-level championship golf, us being able to control the firmness of the greens allows us to create the level of difficulty that we're looking for.

It's a very complex puzzle.  It's a big puzzle.  I think the fact that the 2008 Open was a great Open in attendance, the volunteers were enthusiastic, the marketplace loved it.  We had just a fabulous championship.  I think everybody who you would ask in the last 10 years what was the best U.S. Open we had, I think it would be 2008 at Torrey Pines.  I still see 2008 shirts when I go to the U.S. Open today.

We try to spread it around the country and be fair to all the sectors of the country so that everybody gets a chance to see the Open and to participate in the Open.  We have over 5,000 volunteers at every U.S. Open.  It's great.

I don't know any other sport where 5,000 people would give up their whole week to come volunteer.  It's just a great thing.  We try to be fair and take it other places, but we're really thrilled to be coming back here.  We hope to have equally as exciting a championship as we had in 2008.

Q.  You reeled off quite a few public-access courses, both resorts and municipals.  That's a pretty nice run you're going to have of public facilities.  Talk about since 2002 at Bethpage, how much has the discussion been that we need to keep going to public golf courses to promote public golf at a time that golf isn't in the best position? 

DAN BURTON:  I've been on the board.  This is my fifth year.  Since I've been on the board, I think Bethpage was such a huge success, Torrey Pines was such a huge success, we saw how that sends a message to the world that we are about public access and public golf.  I think the venues we have selected were intentional.  We don't go anywhere by accident.  We think that through.

I think there is a tremendous feeling over the past couple years on the Executive Committee of the USGA that this is an important message for us to send to the world of golf.  We care about everybody who plays golf.  We care about the whole game, not just our championship.  So being able to go places like this sends a powerful message that we want to send and do it with great deliberation and intent.  So we're proud of it.  I think it's a very important part of our mission. 

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

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