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Report: Davis passes U.S. Open setup duties to Bodenhamer
USGA photo
USGA photo

Mike Davis is a name synonymous with the USGA, and though he’s not going anywhere, Davis will reportedly step aside from U.S. Open course setup duties in 2019 – something that he’s come to be known for since assuming that job in 2005.

The transition was first reported by Golf Channel on Jan. 3, and was put in motion so that Davis could focus on expanded CEO duties. He explicitly told Golf Channel that it was a decision made long before the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, where the USGA came under fire in the third round for greens that dried out and become impossibly fast.

Davis, the USGA’s Chief Executive Officer, has selected John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of championships and governance, to take over the role. It’s a highly scrutinized position, and Davis has drawn criticism for different reasons – setup and otherwise – in each of the past four U.S. Opens.

If Bodenhamer’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he was the man who joined Davis in an uncomfortable post-round interview last summer at Shinnecock.

The criticism aimed at the USGA in recent years – much of it through social media – perhaps unfairly overshadows nearly a decade of successful setups that had Davis’ touch. In fact, when the U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach this summer, Bodenhamer told the Golf Channel, the starting point will be Davis’ 2010 setup, on which Graeme McDowell won with an even-par total.

“John is going to take the lead, I will continue to be part of it,” Davis told Golf Channel. “I will continue to watch the golf course closely, mostly on the broadcast. But we need somebody to be the face, and John will be outstanding at that.”

The mission to test the world’s best remains the same, according to Bodenhamer.

“I think it’s imperative for us to keep our DNA of being tough, stern and challenging,” he told Golf Channel. “We absolutely have to keep our promise to the players to make our championship something special. And to our fans, that they can watch and attend something special. And to our own brand, because it’s who we are.”

ABOUT THE U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is one of 13 national championships conducted by the USGA. Open to amateurs and professionals.

The USGA intends to make the U.S. Open the most rigorous, yet fair, examination of golf skills, testing all forms of shot-making. The USGA prepares the course after careful consideration of 14 different factors. The complete philosophy statement can be found on www.usopen.com.

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