In light of longtime USGA executive Mike Davis’ decision to step aside from his course setup duties at the U.S. Open, John Bodenhamer has been hand-picked by his predecessor to take the reins beginning this summer at Pebble Beach.
Bodenhamer, 57, has been in charge of conducting the organization’s various amateur championships since joining the USGA in 2011 and will now assume a new title of senior managing director of championships. He sat next to Davis during a tense media session at last year’s U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, fielding questions about both course setup miscues during the third round and Phil Mickelson’s high-profile rules breach.
But with Davis opting to leave the post he’s held since 2005, it will be Bodenhamer who will face the scrutiny that comes with being the person in charge of course setup decisions for the USGA’s biggest event.
“John is going to take the lead, I will continue to be part of it,” Davis told GolfChannel.com. “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.”
Bodenhamer’s debut will come this summer on the California coastline, as the USGA looks to turn a corner from setup and rules woes that have plagued the U.S. Open since Chambers Bay four years ago. While he doesn’t expect much variation from Davis’ 2010 Pebble setup, when Graeme McDowell won at even par, moving forward Bodenhamer plans to retain many of the traits that make the USGA’s crowned jewel stand out against the other three majors.
“I think it’s imperative for us to keep our DNA of being tough, stern and challenging,” Bodenhamer said. “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.”