Having 'worldwide audience' made Senior Open attractive to Notre Dame

Scott Davidson
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — The University of Notre Dame knows a thing or two about hosting premier athletic events.

That being said, the school will be shooting for an ace come next June.

The Warren Course at Notre Dame is set to play host to the 40th United States Senior Open Golf Championship in 2019.

The event, which will feature a field of 156 of the world’s best golfers age 50 and over, is expected to rival an ND home football weekend for its economic impact on the area.

“This was too good of an opportunity to pass by,” said Mike Seamon, the Vice President for Campus Safety and Event Management at Notre Dame, at a press conference Tuesday morning at the Warren Course. “It was really a no-brainer for us.

“We are excited and thrilled to welcome the world to Notre Dame and the area. We can not wait. We want to make sure that it’s a wonderful experience for all of the entities involved.

“We are looking at it like we would hosting a football weekend here. We are devoting all of our energy and assets to this championship. It’s a special thing for us to bring a whole new group of people here and expose them to Notre Dame and our community”

The Championship, set for June 24-30 of next year is expected to create an economic impact in excess of $20 million.

“One thing that attracted me about hosting this Championship was the worldwide audience,” said John Foster, the chairman of the Championship and the General Manager at The Warren Course. “It will be a great forum to show off Notre Dame, Warren and the community to a new audience.”

The Championship will include four days of live coverage on Fox Sports/Fox Sports1 and will be shown in more than 120 countries.

“An event like this just grows our star on the map,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. “It’s a chance for us to put our best foot forward. We will pull out all the stops to make sure we do it well.”

The Championship, which will be the second USGA Championship at The Warren Course, will be held on a college campus and at a public course for the first time in history.

The staff at The Warren Course, which opened in 1999, has been preparing for the event since the announcement was made in 2016.

There have been fairway modifications, along with expanding the No. 17 green and putting in a sand dressing to firm the course up. The numbers of the holes on the course will also see a change for the Championship next year in order for the pace-of-play and a smooth flow for the event.

The Championship will be played for just the second time in the Hoosier State. The Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel hosted the event in 2009 when Fred Funk claimed his first USGA championship with a record 20-under par 268.

It was also revealed Tuesday that former Irish football stars Tim Brown and Jerome Bettis will serve as the honorary chairmen. Both Brown, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1987, and Bettis, who played for 13 years in the NFL, are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Championship is in need of more than 2,500 volunteers. Positions are now available for everything from admissions to VIP transportation. Volunteer positions cost the price of a gallery season ticket.

Tickets for the Championship are also on sale. Parking will be free and children ages 18 and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult.

For more information on the Championship or for volunteer opportunities or tickets, visit

Cameras converge on David Toms, and his wife, Sonya, after he won the U.S. Senior Open golf tournament at The Broadmoor July 1 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Next year’s tournament will be held at Notre Dame, June 24-30.