“The USGA is proud to bring the U.S. Open back to Torrey Pines, the site of one of the most memorable and compelling national championships in history, thanks to Tiger and Rocco,” said Thomas J. O’Toole Jr., USGA president. “As in 2008, we are excited to partner with the City of San Diego to bring golf’s most democratic major championship back to such a great public venue. The San Diego area embraced the 2008 U.S. Open and we are seeing the same enthusiasm for the return of the U.S. Open in 2021. We have a great partner in the City of San Diego and this community loves golf.”
Torrey Pines, a 36-hole, city-owned facility, hosts more than 100,000 rounds annually on the North and South Courses.
“Bringing the U.S. Open back to Torrey Pines is significant in many ways,” said Daniel B. Burton, USGA vice president and Championship Committee chairman. “In 2021, the players and spectators have an opportunity for a world-class experience as evidenced by the tremendous success of the 2008 championship.”
In addition to bringing one of the world’s largest sporting events and its supporting programs and features to the San Diego area as a spectator experience, the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines is expected to provide a significant impact to the regional economy, as well as the city’s broader economic development plan.
“The City of San Diego is proud to welcome back the United States Golf Association and host another major championship,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “Torrey Pines is a fantastic venue for the U.S. Open and a great opportunity to showcase San Diego’s first-class hotels, restaurants and shops. Just as San Diego served as home to one of the greatest championships in golf history in 2008, we’re confident that we will once again provide an exciting and dynamic venue for 2021.”
The selection of Torrey Pines for the 2021 U.S. Open marks the second time that the South Course will have hosted the national championship and its third USGA championship. While it boasts a long pedigree of hosting professional golf, Torrey Pines can also lay claim to one of the greatest moments in the history of the game: the 2008 U.S. Open.
In the final round of the 2008 U.S. Open, Tiger Woods, playing with a leg injury, holed a 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to force an 18-hole playoff with Rocco Mediate. Woods again birdied the 18th hole the following day to tie Mediate, and he won in 19 holes for his third U.S. Open title and 14th major championship.
“I was excited to hear that the U.S. Open was returning to Torrey Pines,” said Woods, a three-time U.S. Open champion. “I think it’s great, when the USGA can, to play the U.S. Open at a public course. The last time it was there, it was an amazing event. There was a huge turnout, it was really well run and the fans were excited and very supportive. It was a great atmosphere.
“I’ve been fortunate to have played well there and have great memories of the course. I was pretty young when I first went there with my dad during the old Andy Williams tournament. It was one of the few pro events I got to see. I wanted to watch some of the So Cal guys like Mark O’Meara and John Cook play.
“I think it’s a great decision returning to Torrey. It’s a very special place to me.”
The first USGA championship on the South Course at Torrey Pines, the 1998 U.S. Amateur Public Links, featured a pair of future major champions in the 36-hole final. Trevor Immelman, of South Africa, defeated Jason Dufner, 3 and 2. Immelman went on to win the 2008 Masters, while Dufner captured the 2013 PGA Championship. That championship drew an APL-record 6,300 entries, a mark that still stands.
William P. Bell and his son, William F. Bell, designed the golf courses at Torrey Pines, which opened in 1957. Prior to being shaped for the golf courses, the land was part of Camp Callan, a naval training center. Bell’s son finished much of the initial design after his father’s death. Rees Jones completed a redesign of the course in 2002. The courses take their name from the Torrey Pine tree, which is native to the area and to Santa Rosa Island and is distinguished by its clusters of five pine needles.
Torrey Pines has been home to a PGA Tour event since 1968, with winners including seven-time champion Woods, three-time winner Phil Mickelson, two-time champions Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Billy Casper and Johnny Miller. The 2014 Farmers Insurance Open, played on the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, was won by Scott Stallings on Jan. 26.
The facility also hosts the San Diego City Amateur Golf Championship every June and the Junior World Golf Championships every July.
The 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course will be the 13th U.S. Open played in the state of California and will mark the fifth site in the upcoming eight U.S. Opens that is open to the public. Future U.S. Open sites are: Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2), Village of Pinehurst, N.C. (2014); Chambers Bay, University Place, Wash. (2015); Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club (2016); Erin Hills, Erin, Wis. (2017); Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y. (2018); Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links (2019); and Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, N.Y. (2020).