Editor’s note: New United States Golf Association Executive Director Mike Davis visited ESPN last week. The USGA stages the U.S. Open, golf’s national championship. Front Row’s Marcus Lynam interviewed Davis, who was named to his current position in March 2011 as a successor to David Fay.
FR: How does it feel to oversee your first U.S. Open as Executive Director?
MD: I’m very excited for this opportunity, first of all. The competition part will be the same for me, but as the Executive Director I’m going to be pulled in different directions by so many different people. I’m not going to be able to have total focus on the U.S. Open.
FR: What aspects of your previous job as Senior Director of Rules and Competition do you miss?
MD: I loved that job. I loved being so involved with the championships and the rules of golf. I’m going to miss sitting in the golf rules meetings. There are a lot of things I loved about that job, but I’m very excited for my new position. I’m going to miss some aspects of my old job, but I’m going to be doing new things in my new position, so overall I would say it is a wash.
FR: Is this your first visit to ESPN? If so, what are your impressions?
MD: Yes, it is my first visit and I’m very excited to be here. I am so impressed with the campus and the people. I was blown away by the size of the place. It seems like a lot is going on all around, and it seems like such an exciting place to work.
FR: This is the third U.S. Open played at Congressional since 1964. How is this year’s tournament going to be different than the previous two?
MD: Well first off, the course will be played as a Par 71. It was a Par 70 the first two times. The reason for the change is we decided to make No. 6 a Par 5 instead of a Par 4. The course isn’t going to play longer though. The greens are going to be super-fast; like faster than normal for a U.S. Open.
FR: Have you played Congressional lately? How did you fare?
MD: I actually haven’t played the entire course in a long time. I’ll walk the course before tournaments and hit random shots, from random places along the course, to see how they play.
FR: What is your favorite hole at Congressional?
MD: Great question! I would have to say the mighty 18th. It’s a great hole that requires good shots from beginning to end.
FR: You were a youth champion in Pennsylvania and played at Georgia Southern, how would you assess your golf game today?
MD: Well to be honest, I don’t get to play as much as you would think. I probably play 20-25 times a year, and that’s usually when I’m not working or on vacation. Depending on how much I play, I can be anywhere between a one handicap to a four handicap.
The first two rounds of the U.S. Open airs on multiple ESPN platforms from Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., on Thursday and Friday, June 16-17.