Updated: 06/26/2013 12:35 PM KSTP.com
(AP) SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Women’s Open is coming back to California for the first time in more than 30 years.
The U.S. Golf Association announced Wednesday that CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif., has been awarded the 2016 championship. The tournament will take place from July 7-10 that year.
It will mark only the third time the event will be held in California. It also was played at the San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista in 1964 and Del Paso Country Club in Sacramento in 1982.
"Where better is women’s sports celebrated than a state like California, one of the most significant states in the union?" said Thomas O’Toole Jr., chairman of the USGA’s championship committee. "There’s just great appeal to be able to go back there. Even though it’s been a long time, we’re excited that we accepted this invitation quickly."
CordeValle has all the ingredients the USGA craves: a wealth of corporate dollars some 30 miles north in the San Jose area, the space needed for a major championship and a scenic setting.
Returning to California also gives the event a later start time on the East Coast, which means a coveted prime-time audience for television. The tournament hasn’t been played in the Pacific time zone since 2003, when it was held at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains, Oregon.
"We just think it’s a perfect fit," O’Toole said.
On the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, CordeValle has everything but a rich history.
The course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., opened in 1999 and has hosted the PGA Tour’s Frys.com Open the past three years. Tiger Woods even boosted its reputation a bit when he played the tournament in 2011 while recovering from injuries.
How much tweaking the course might need to challenge the world’s best golfers is unclear. The winning scores in the Frys the past three years _ Rocco Mediate at 15 under in 2010, Bryce Molder at 17 under in 2011, and Jonas Blixt at 16 under last year _ have been easier than championship standards.
The U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle will not lack name recognition. Former Secretary of State and new Augusta National member Condoleezza Rice, who is also on the USGA’s Nominating Committee and a professor at nearby Stanford, will serve as honorary chair of the tournament.
"USGA women’s golf serves as an avenue of empowerment and opportunity for women and girls all over the country," Rice said in a statement. "As the honorary chair of the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open at CordeValle, I am proud to welcome players, their families and fans to the Bay Area to share in this rich tradition."
This week’s U.S. Women’s Open is being held at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. The event will be held at Pinehurst in North Carolina next year, the Lancaster Country Club (Lancaster, Pa.) in 2015 and the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey in 2017.
CordeValle and USGA officials will have some test runs to get the grounds ready. The club also is hosting the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship in September, and officials hope the course continues to gain more recognition.
"CordeValle is very honored to host the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open Championship and welcomes this opportunity to develop a stronger relationship with the USGA," CordeValle President Alan Campey said in a statement. "From our acclaimed golf course to our world-class resort facilities, the Women’s Open competitors, spectators and guests will have a wonderful experience at CordeValle. And that experience will be bolstered by the crucial support from our club members, local community and financial supporters, without whom this championship would not be possible."
Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)