The 2020 US Open will still be played at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York, but the national championship will not have any on-site spectators for what will be the year’s second men’s major.
The USGA announced July 29 that the tournament, which has been moved to Sept. 17-20, will be played without crowds. All tickets previously purchased will be automatically refunded.
“Following months of consultation and scenario planning with local and state health officials, we have jointly decided that hosting the US Open without spectators will provide the best opportunity to conduct the championship safely for all involved,” said USGA CEO Mike Davis in a release. “We will miss the excitement of the fans and what their presence brings to the championship. We look forward to welcoming them again to future US Opens.”
New York was the early epicenter of the Coronavirus pandemic. While conditions have improved dramatically in the Empire State, having large crowds at a sporting event is still not feasible from a public health perspective.
“We have come a long way in the fight against COVID-19, and I am so proud of New Yorkers, who rose to the occasion and bent the curve,” said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. “I am pleased to welcome the USGA for the US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club this September, and while the tournament will look different this year with no fans and enhanced safety protocols, this event is a welcome sight for sports fans across the country and will help restore a sense of normalcy as we build back better than before.”
The USGA announced the postponement of the event to September in an April 6 announcement, further adding in June that all qualifying would not be held this year. New qualification criteria for the all-exempt field have since been published, relying on various rankings and achievements in professional events leading into the championship.
There had been early discussions about potentially moving the Open to another host club, like Oakmont in Pennsylvania, but ultimately the USGA decided to stick with Winged Foot. They now hope that will offer some inspiration.
“This will not be a typical U.S. Open in several respects,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of Championships. “Would it have been easier to simply cancel or even move the 2020 championship rather than play it in what has been the epicenter of the virus in our country? Possibly. But all of us at the USGA know how much the US Open matters, and we weren’t willing to give up on playing it at Winged Foot Golf Club so easily. We are very proud to give our competitors and champions a platform to chase their dreams. Their perseverance motivates us, in a year when such tenacity means so much.”