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The U.S. Open That Almost Didn’t Happen

BROOKLINE, Mass. — The Country Club, the site of this year’s U.S. Open, had come close to not staging the major tournament at all, until the club realized there was something to the adage of being the smallest house in the nicest neighborhood.

The Country Club is on the short list of the United States Golf Association’s most cherished institutions, one of the five clubs that banded together in the 1890s to form the association. It was the site of arguably the most important moment in American golf history — the 1913 U.S. Open won by the amateur Francis Ouimet in a playoff over the celebrated British professionals Ted Ray and Harry Vardon.

But the club is tucked away in an exclusive neighborhood in a Boston suburb with little room to accommodate the growing demands of modern major tournaments. The P.G.A. of America awarded the club its 2005 championship, but it decided it would be too much and pulled out.

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