The early part of U.S. Open week just got a little more interesting. The USGA on Wednesday announced the creation of the Celebration of Champions, a henceforth annual event that will kick off Tuesday, June 12 (two days before the first round of the U.S. Open) at Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, N.Y. The event will be an afternoon, four-hole foursomes (alternate-shot) exhibition featuring several 2017 USGA champions.
The event will take place at 4:45 p.m. that Tuesday afternoon (after all the practice rounds are near completion) and will be played on the 10th through the 13th holes, the routings of which make for easy viewing.
And while the pairings haven’t been made yet, the participants in the event will include: Frankie Capan (U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champion), Alice Chen (U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball champion), Kelsey Chugg (U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur champion), Noah Goodwin (U.S. Junior Amateur champion), Sean Knapp (U.S. Senior Amateur champion), Judith Kyrinis (U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion), Matt Parziale (U.S. Mid-Amateur champion), Kenny Perry (U.S. Senior Open champion), Doc Redman (U.S. Amateur champion), Sophia Schubert (U.S. Women’s Amateur champion), Taylor Totland (U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball champion) and Ben Wong (U.S. Amateur Four-Ball champion).
Reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka will welcome the participants, while Jack Nicklaus will also be on hand to launch these inaugural festivities.
“I am honored to be part of the Celebration of Champions and the USGA’s enduring commitment to celebrate the game and its legacy,” Nicklaus said in a statement. “The U.S. Open is widely regarded as golf’s ultimate test, making it the ideal setting for an event designed to applaud each 2017 USGA champion.
“I’ve always loved USGA championships. Since I was a junior, they have always been the ultimate examinations of a golfer. I always felt that the USGA did the best job of preparing a golf course that will completely test you and every part of your game. And for me personally, to be able to compete for a championship of the country I live in made a victory that much more meaningful.”
Fox Sports, the USGA’s broadcast partner, will televise the exhibition on FS1 in partnership with Rolex.
“Our championships are open to all players who have the dream and desire to compete at the highest level. We believe hosting the inaugural Celebration of Champions – with our longtime partner Rolex – at the 118th U.S. Open is a fitting way to celebrate each champion’s incredible achievement and acknowledge their place in golf history,” said Mike Davis, the USGA’s executive director and CEO.