golf Brooklawn to host 2020 U.S. Women’s Senior Open
FAIRFIELD — The names are all familiar to anyone who followed the LPGA Tour in the 1980s and 1990s: JoAnne Carner, Juli Inkster, Hollis Stacy, Amy Alcott, Pat Bradley, Betsy King, Jan Stephenson and Laura Davies.
Each one of them competed in the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open last July at Chicago Golf Club with Davies won the title.
“It was like an old homecoming, players who hadn’t see one another in a number of years,” said Matt Sawicki, director of the U.S. Women’s and Senior Women’s Open Championships. “This was something these women have longed for for such a long period of time.”
In 2020, many of those former legends will come to Brooklawn Country Club, which will host the third edition of the tournament. The official announcement came on Wednesday morning at the private club.
It will be held July 6-12, 2020, the fifth USGA Championship Brooklawn CC has hosted.
“No. 3 (U.S. Senior Women’s Open) is pretty special for us,” said Rick Ryan, the general chair of the upcoming event. “It’s a chance to host the fifth USGA championship on our 125th anniversary. We like history.”
Brooklawn CC previously hosted the 1974 U.S. Junior Amateur Championship, the 1979 U.S. Women’s Open, the 1987 U.S. Senior Open and the 2003 U.S. Girls Junior.
“We are looking for venues which fit the word ‘special’ that provide the ultimate test like any other U.S. Open championship that tests the player’s mental and physical ability and a community that will support a championship,” Sawicki said. “Add all those things up, and certainly the pedigree of the championships we have hosted here and the players are resoundingly going to be excited and enthusiastic about coming here.”
Also among those likely teeing it up will be Jerilyn Britz, who won that 1979 U.S. Women’s Open at Brooklawn CC and competed in last year’s first Women’s Senior Open.
Brooklawn CC was one of six finalists for the 2021 Solheim Cup, women’s golf version of the Ryder Cup. Ryan helped lead the club’s efforts to bring that event in, but instead, it went to the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.
Sawicki said the USGA and Brooklawn CC have “had conversations dating back to 2010, maybe even before” about bringing in another USGA event. “From our standpoint, at the end of the day with the demographic of players, it all made sense,” Sawicki said.
And while Sawicki said this announcement had nothing to do with the club losing out on the Solheim Cup, Ryan and the club wanted to make sure the efforts put forth to gain that event weren’t for naught.
“From a club standpoint, we didn’t want momentum to dissipate,” Ryan said. “We didn’t want that enthusiasm to dissipate.”
Sawick said it will take the 18th months to build a volunteer program of more than 800, create a corporate sales program, find off-site parking and accomplish many other things it takes to host an USGA championship.
“We define success in a number of ways,” Sawicki said. “It starts with the player experience and providing a golf course that defines a national champion. We also want to meet the club’s goals with this championship and ensure everyone able to be part of this championship has a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Brooklawn CC will host the 21st Connecticut Women’s Open June 4-5.
In 2020, the USGA will host two men’s championships nearby: the U.S. Open at Winged Foot GC in Mamaroneck, N.Y. and the U.S. Senior Open at Newport CC in Newport, R.I.
“It’s hard to have three better clubs on the I-95 corridor,” Sawicki said.