If all sides can reach an agreement, the 2022 US Open will be played at The Country Club in Brookline, the Globe has learned.
The US Golf Association has accepted The Country Club’s invitation to bring golf’s national championship back to the club’s composite course for the fourth time, and first since 1988. The US Open also was held at The Country Club in 1913 (won by 20-year-old Brookline amateur Francis Ouimet) and 1963. The club hosted the Ryder Cup in 1999, and most recently was the site of the 2013 US Amateur.
The Brookline Board of Selectmen, meeting Tuesday night, voted to execute a letter of intent with the USGA, which requested — in cooperation with The Country Club — that the item be placed on the agenda. USGA officials, joined by two representatives of The Country Club — Will Fulton, a member of the club’s board of directors, and David Chag, the club’s general manager — took part in Tuesday’s discussion.
The Board of Selectmen also voted to allow town administrator Mel Kleckner to convene a team to negotiate a definitive agreement with the USGA to bring the 2022 US Open to Brookline. The deadline to reach that agreement, Kleckner said, is Oct. 31.
“I think the US Open would be an exciting, cultural, historical type of an event for us,” Kleckner said. “The Country Club has a long history of golf in the United States, it has a lot of history and meaning for the town, so yes, we would be excited to have the US Open come back to Brookline in 2022.”
For that to happen, logistical challenges will need to be met, since large crowds would be attending an event in a neighborhood. Town land — specifically the Robert T. Lynch Municipal Golf Course at Putterham Meadows, and Larz Anderson Park — would be required for temporary parking, with spectators then being brought to The Country Club by bus.
For everything that would be involved in hosting such a large event, the USGA and The Country Club would need commitment and cooperation from Brookline.
Kleckner said that Lisa Paradis, Brookline’s recreation director, will be heavily involved as the town attempts to reach an agreement with the USGA.
“I’m reasonably confident that the town, the USGA, and The Country Club will work cooperatively and reach agreement on the major issues,” Kleckner said. “There are a number of issues, but I think they can resolved.”
Janeen Driscoll, the USGA’s director of public relations, said Wednesday that there was nothing to announce, and that the governing body, club, and town were working closely together, as is customary when it comes to determining championship sites.
“We can confirm that we have been in discussions with them related to a future US Open championship,” said Driscoll. “I can also tell you that we’re not quite there yet.
“We do know, because you’ve been able to see the vote and the discussions that took place at Brookline [Tuesday], exactly where we’re going, and that is part of a normal process that we go through in order to assess and evaluate the viability of a future championship.
“I wish I could absolutely confirm that we’re coming, but we’re still in the middle of trying to assess the viability. The discussions are moving forward, and to say anything more at this point is just premature. But we’re really encouraged by those discussions.”
The Country Club directed all inquiries to the USGA.
Ranked No. 19 by Golf Digest in its latest compilation of America’s 100 greatest golf courses, The Country Club is also the proposed venue for the 2024 Olympics, should Boston’s bid be selected and assuming golf remains on the Summer Games program; it will be played in Rio de Janeiro next year, for the first time in an Olympics since 1904.
The Country Club already boasts a long, successful partnership with the USGA. It was one of the organization’s five founding members in 1894, has had six of its members serve as USGA president, and has hosted 16 USGA national championships: three US Opens, six US Amateurs, three US Women’s Amateurs, two Walker Cups, one US Junior Amateur, and one US Girls’ Junior.
The world’s best professionals haven’t played the course since 1999, though, and golf has changed plenty since then, with equipment allowing players to hit the ball farther than ever, rendering many shorter courses obsolete, at least in terms of hosting elite events.
Before the 2013 US Amateur — held on the centennial of Ouimet’s stunning US Open victory — the course was lengthened by 300 yards, and played to a scorecard yardage of 7,380 yards. When Curtis Strange won the 1988 US Open, The Country Club was 7,010 yards.
Any reservations the USGA may have had about bringing a US Open back to The Country Club — at least in terms of the course — went away after that 2013 US Amateur. The stroke-play scoring average was 76.429, and only six of the 312 stroke-play rounds were under 70; England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick eventually beat Australia’s Oliver Goss in the 36-hole championship match, 4 and 3.
Talking to the Globe on the 15th green not long after the trophy presentation, Mike Davis, the executive director of the USGA, left little doubt about his desire to bring the US Open back to Brookline.
“There is zero doubt this golf course is good enough for an Open — zero,” Davis said then. “If anybody thinks this golf course isn’t good enough, they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s easily good enough.
“Ultimately, the biggest challenges about an Open here have always been how do you make it work logistically? It’s a matter of just physically getting people here, and the busing, the parking, the traffic, those types of things.
“Between the club and our operations people, they would have to come up with a plan. That means, are you going to get cooperation from Brookline, are you going to get cooperation from Boston, the state of Massachusetts, some of the other properties, like Putterham? All those things would have to work.”
They might work, and they might not. But the three main voices making the decision — the USGA, The Country Club, and the town of Brookline — are talking, and they appear to have the same goal in mind.
This year’s US Open will be played for the first time in Washington state at Chambers Bay, a daily-fee facility near Seattle. Future Opens have been awarded to Oakmont (2016), Erin Hills (2017), Shinnecock Hills (2018), Pebble Beach (2019), Winged Foot (2020), and Torrey Pines (2021).
The next available date, at least for now, is 2022.
The Country Club’s finest hours
The Country Club has hosted 16 USGA national championships and a Ryder Cup:
1902 US Women’s Amateur: Genevieve Hecker defeated Louisa A. Wells, 4 and 3.
1910 US Amateur: William Fownes Jr. defeated Warren Wood, 4 and 3.
1913 US Open: In a landmark moment for American golf, Brookline’s Francis Ouimet defeated British stars Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in a playoff.
1922 US Amateur: Jess Sweetser defeated Chick Evans, 3 and 2.
1932 Walker Cup: The US trounced Great Britain/Ireland, 9½-2½, for its seventh straight win in the event.
1934 US Amateur: Lawson Little defeated David Goldman, 8 and 7.
1941 US Women’s Amateur: Betty Hicks Newell defeated Helen Sigel, 5 and 3.
1953 US Girls Junior Amateur: Millie Meyerson was the champion.
1957 US Amateur: Hillman Robbins defeated Frank Taylor, 5 and 4.
1963 US Open: Julius Boros won his second Open, defeating Arnold Palmer and Jacky Cupit in a playoff.
1968 US Junior Amateur: Future PGA Tour player Eddie Pearce took the title.
1973 Walker Cup: The US defeated Great Britain/Ireland, 14-10.
1982 US Amateur: Jay Sigel won his first of back-to-back US Amateurs, defeating David Tolley, 8 and 7.
1988 US Open: Curtis Strange defeated Nick Faldo by four strokes in a playoff. Strange would defend his title the following year at Oak Hill.
1995 US Women’s Amateur: Kelli Kuehne defeated Anne-Marie Knight, 4 and 3.
1999 Ryder Cup: Trailing, 10-6, heading into the last day, the US roared back to defeat Europe, 14½-13½, with a monster putt by Justin Leonard the signature moment.
2013 US Amateur: 18-year-old Matthew Fitzpatrick of England defeated Oliver Goss, 4 and 3.