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U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock in 2018

By Larry Fine

BETHESDA, Maryland (Reuters) - The U.S. Open will return to New York's Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in June 2018 after officials promised there would be no repeat of the farcical scenes when the tournament was last played at the seaside course.

It will be the fifth time the Long Island course has hosted the national championship and the first since the 2004 tournament was marred by brutally hot weather and some ill-tended greens.

"We are thrilled that our national championship will return to one of our country's most-storied venues," U.S. Golf Association President Jim Hyler said at Congressional, venue of this week's 111th U.S. Open.

"We are confident that Shinnecock Hills will provide a true challenge for the world's premier players, as it has for more than a century."

USGA executive director Mike Davis said officials had learnt from the mistakes made in 2004 when the greens dried up and became almost unplayable.

"What happened in '04 was simply an error in judgment in terms of water management on how we set the golf course up," Davis said.

"This one is going to be very special for that reason as well as just how great Shinnecock is as a golf course."

Play was suspended during the final round in 2004 to allow greenkeepers to water some of the worst-affected greens after three of the first four golfers made triple bogey sizes on the troublesome seventh hole.

They included former Masters champion Craig Stadler who faced a two-foot downhill putt for par which he missed, then watched in bemusement as only to see his ball roll 20 yards off the green into a bunker.

"We let the course get away from us the last round," Hyler said.

"I will tell you that we have used this as a wholesome learning experience, and this experience led us to the development of our current setup philosophy."

Shinnecock Hills, one of five founding clubs of the USGA in 1894, was the first 18-hole golf course on the U.S. East Coast and the only venue to host the championship in three centuries.

In 1896, Shinnecock hosted the second U.S. Open, won by James Foulis, and 90 years later Raymond Floyd won by two strokes over Chip Beck and Lanny Wadkins.

(Editing by Julian Linden)