The United States Golf Association Tuesday announced that CEO Mike Davis will leave the organization by the end of 2021 to pursue a life-long passion for golf course design and construction.
In the next step of his professional journey, Davis will team with accomplished golf course designer Tom Fazio II in a new business venture, where together they have formed Fazio & Davis Golf Design.
In his last year of being CEO, Davis will continue to expand USGA’s impact in golf by bringing a second headquarters to Pinehurst to include a new equipment-testing facility, innovation hub, museum/visitor center and offices by 2023 and host five U.S. Open Championships in our golf-rich state by 2047.
During a Sept. 9 news conference in Pinehurst, Davis and Moore County leaders announced four U.S. Open Championships to be contested on the famed Pinehurst No. 2 course – in 2029, 2035, 2041 and 2047 – to the already scheduled 2024 event. The decision accelerates the USGA’s strategy to stage its premier golf championship at America’s most iconic venues with greater frequency. By doing so, Pinehurst Resort & Country Club will serve as the USGA’s first anchor site for the U.S. Open.
“There is no better place for the USGA to plant new roots than the Home of American Golf,” said Davis at the news conference. “Thanks to the vision of North Carolina, Moore County and Pinehurst leaders, we are taking a bold step forward and forging a long-term commitment that will elevate our championships, foster greater innovation in golf, and ultimately help grow the game.”
The total $25 million investment over the next several years includes the construction of two buildings to be located near the clubhouse on the historic Pinehurst Resort property, housing 50 full-time USGA staff members. The campus will feature the USGA’s Equipment Standards Test Center – a laboratory dedicated to testing golf balls and clubs for conformance to the Rules of Golf. It will replace the current facility on the USGA’s Liberty Corner campus and enable significant new investment in advanced technology required to perform this global governance function.
Pinehurst will also serve as the USGA’s base for its work to advance the game of golf through innovation, research and science, in collaboration with some of the state’s leading universities.
A USGA Golf Museum experience will also be added, giving visitors a chance to delve into the association’s premier collection of golf artifacts and connect them more deeply with the game’s rich history.
Independent studies estimate that the total economic impact of the USGA’s long-term presence will exceed $2 billion to the state of North Carolina. More than 1 million visitors travel to Pinehurst annually.
Davis, who joined the USGA in 1990, became the association’s seventh executive director in 2011 and its first Chief Executive Officer in 2016. In the CEO role, Davis is responsible for managing all aspects of the association’s day-to-day operations, including its core functions, essential programs and human and financial resources. He serves as a member of several golf-related boards, including the International Golf Federation, World Golf Foundation, World Golf Hall of Fame and Official World Golf Rankings.
“Leading the USGA has been such an honor, and I’m grateful for the many wonderful years I have had with this great organization,” said Davis on Tuesday. “While I am excited for my next chapter, my work here is not done, and I look forward to furthering our mission to better the game over the next 15 months.”
The USGA Executive Committee will soon initiate a search for the next CEO, with the goal of having a candidate in place prior to the 2021 U.S. Open in June. Davis will support the onboarding of the new CEO over the subsequent months with the intent of formally departing the organization by the end of 2021.
Feature photo: Mike Davis, USGA Executive Director, speaks at a press conference in Pinehurst on Sept. 9. Photo by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer John Patota.