OAKMONT, Pa. — Shinnecock Hills, while still preparing to host the U.S. Open in 2018, has accepted an invitation to host the national championship again in 2026, U.S. Golf Association president Diana Murphy announced Saturday.
It will be the sixth Open at the club in Southampton, a charter member of the USGA and the first to host the event in each of the last three centuries. The first time was 1896, the second Open; it returned in 1986 and was so well received that Shinnecock became part of the Open rotation, hosting again in 1995 and 2004.
“You can’t write the history of Shinnecock without writing the history of the USGA, and vice versa,” Barrett N. Pickett, Shinnecock Hills president and son of former Islanders owner John O. Pickett, said in a statement. “Our relationship today is stronger than ever. We are honored to host the 2026 U.S. Open, 130 years after our first in 1896.”
There was a real concern that there never would be another Shinnecock Open after the controversial ending in 2004. The USGA was severely criticized for allowing the course to become so burned out that golf balls would not stay still on some greens, notably the par 3 seventh hole. It became so bad that officials took the unusual steps of watering greens during play.
But relations between the association and the club improved enough to create a return for 2018. Earlier this week, USGA executive director Mike Davis told Newsday that after a tour of the course two weeks ago, he reached this conclusion: “It is awesome. I have never seen it so good.”
Davis praised the work of architects Ben Crenshaw (a two-time Masters champion) and Bill Coore in fine-tuning the classic layout for 2018. “Talk about restoration: the fairway contours, the bunkering. They have expanded out the greens substantially. It is like they are 40 percent bigger. It’s amazing. So it is really going to play the way it should have, many years ago,” he said.
Jeff Hall, the USGA’s manager of competitions, who traveled with Davis to Southampton earlier this month, said a repeat of the problems in 2004 is almost impossible. “We have had a great deal of change since 2004 with the equipment that is available to us, the moisture probes and the firmness readings,” he said. “We get a lot of data to help manage things.”
The announcement Saturday indicated that the return in 2018 was not a one-time make-good occasion, but part of an ongoing relationship between the club and the biggest championship in American golf.
Other USGA championships at Shinnecock were the 1896 U.S. Amateur, 1900 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the 1967 Senior Amateur and 1977 Walker Cup.
In a statement, Murphy said, “New York metropolitan area golf fans can anticipate another exciting chapter in their region’s golf history in 2026.”
The 2026 Open will be the 20th in New York State and the 11th on Long Island.