Riviera Country Club, nestled in the picturesque Pacific Palisades of California, has been bestowed with the prestigious honor of hosting the U.S. Open in 2031. This announcement has taken the golfing world by surprise and delight, coming on the heels of the successful conclusion of the U.S. Open at the Los Angeles Country Club, marking a remarkable achievement for Southern California. Riviera, steeped in rich history and renowned for its captivating George C. Thomas design, is poised to make a triumphant return to the major championship stage.
A Pleasant Surprise: Riviera’s Selection as the Host
Just days after the conclusion of the Los Angeles Country Club’s U.S. Open debut, the United States Golf Association (USGA) unveiled its choice of Riviera as the venue for the 2031 U.S. Open. This news brought about a collective sense of excitement and anticipation among golf enthusiasts worldwide. The last time Riviera hosted this prestigious championship was in 1948, making this decision a nostalgic journey back in time for the golfing world. Riviera has long been celebrated for its annual staging of the PGA Tour’s Genesis Invitational, and now it’s ready to reclaim its position as a premier destination for major golf tournaments.
Megan Watanabe’s Joyful Declaration
Megan Watanabe, who holds the distinction of being Riviera’s first female president and is also the daughter of the club’s longtime owner, couldn’t contain her excitement. She took to email to express her delight, addressing the members with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Megan’s family has nurtured the dream of bringing major championships back to Riviera since they acquired the club in 1989. With the USGA’s selection of Riviera as the host for the 2031 U.S. Open, Megan sees this achievement as a monumental milestone, one that reflects the culmination of years of dedicated effort and unwavering passion.
USGA’s Endorsement of Riviera’s Significance
John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s chief championships officer, shares in this excitement about Riviera as the chosen venue for the 2031 U.S. Open. Recognizing Riviera’s status as a “cathedral of golf,” he emphasized its undeniable significance in the sport’s illustrious history. Bodenhamer eagerly anticipates the opportunity to create new and unforgettable chapters in golfing history during the championship in 2031.
Size and History: A Perfect Match for the USGA
One might wonder why the USGA chose Riviera, considering its relatively smaller size and the absence of a second golf course for staging, compared to some of the larger modern venues. However, the USGA has consistently favored historical courses for its championships, and Riviera fits perfectly within this approach. Currently ranked No. 18 in Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses,” Riviera’s selection underscores its timeless appeal, even if it may not offer the same attendance opportunities as more expansive and modern venues.
Television Appeal and Growing Viewership
Another critical factor in the USGA’s decision-making process is television coverage. The organization aims to satisfy its broadcast partners and attract a broader viewership. This strategy has yielded remarkable success in recent years, with U.S. Open tournaments experiencing significant increases in viewership. The 2023 U.S. Open, won by the talented Wyndham Clark, witnessed a remarkable 27 percent rise in viewership compared to the previous year’s championship. With Riviera’s captivating layout and storied past, the stage is set for an enthralling broadcast that will captivate golf enthusiasts around the world.
A Secure Future for the U.S. Open
Securing the 2031 U.S. Open ensures that the USGA has a confirmed roster of host sites for the next 12 years, with 16 of the next 19 championships scheduled through 2042. The only remaining available dates are in 2036, 2038, and 2040. Furthermore, the legendary Pebble Beach will be the host of the U.S. Open in 2027 and subsequent years, including 2032, 2037, and 2044. Riviera’s selection solidifies its place among the elite venues entrusted with hosting major golf championships.