U.S. Open June 9-16, 2008
On October 4, 2002 the United States Golf Association awarded the 2008 U.S. Open Golf Tournament to Torrey Pines Golf Course. It was the first time the Open had been played at Torrey Pines and the first time the U.S. Open had been held in Southern California since 1948. Torrey Pines was the first true municipal golf course to host this event in the 108-year history of the U.S. Open.
Torrey Pines was selected to host the U.S. Open almost immediately after celebrated golf course designer Rees Jones completed remodeling the South Course, an endeavor that has been met with almost universal acclaim. Rees relocated several greens to the edge of the canyon and lengthened the course to 7,607 yards making it now one of the longest courses on the PGA tour and 379 yards longer than any previous U.S. Open course. In addition, the course was played as a par 71 making it the second time the U.S. Open has hosted a tournament on a course of this length (2000 U.S. Open - Pebble Beach Golf Links - 6,846 yards).
According to course managers, the most challenging aspect of getting the course ready for the Open had been converting the turf to the appropriate varieties of grass. While Torrey Pines hosts the Buick Invitational every January, during the U.S. Open the South Course turf was much drier and much firmer. Additional differences were, the green speeds were much faster, the fairways were narrower in spots and the roughs' grass height was higher and denser.
USGA tournament coordinators estimated the South Course at Torrey Pines would hold approximately 42,500 paid spectators per day. USGA tournament organizers and officials estimated having the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines would rank as one of the area's most lucrative sporting events ever, bringing millions of dollars to the local economy. They also felt that hosting the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines would demonstrate to the worldwide golfing community and the world that public golf courses, where many golfers initially learn to play, can successfully host major events. With a tee time, the public golfer was able to play Torrey Pines up to three and half weeks before the U.S. Open and experience the course just as some of the greatest golfers in the world did during the rigorous tournament.