When the 40th U.S. Senior Open began with practice rounds on June 24, it marked the first time in its history the event was being played at a collegiate golf course. Yet as the players worked their way through the 70-par course, it became clear this was a venue unique not just for its location on a college campus. Second-place finisher David Toms remarked, “What struck me is how mature the golf course is for being a fairly new golf course. It looks like a historic golf course to me. I’ve always enjoyed playing historic venues and old-style golf courses.”
“Old-style,” maybe, but the impact of the U.S. Senior Open couldn’t be more here-and-now: An estimated 100,000 fans attended the event, along with more than 2,000 volunteers from 44 states and five countries. The economic impact on the area was estimated to be more than $20 million, and the week helped to bolster Notre Dame’s reputation for hosting world-class events, this time in a sport other than football.
The course, officially the William K. and Natalie O. Warren Golf Course, was opened in 1999 and is the result of the benefaction of William K. Warren Jr. ’56, a trustee emeritus who named the course after his parents and thus combined three of his enduring passions: his family, Notre Dame and golf.
But in a conversation with Mr. Warren and his son, John-Kelly, during the tournament, it became clear the golf course bearing his family name was about something else as well: giving back to the University he says “gave him more than he gave it” and set him up for success in business and in life.
The family is a key partner in the research mission of Notre Dame as well: Benefaction from the William K. Warren Foundation makes possible the Warren Family Research Center for Drug Discovery and Development, a state-of-the-art resource that helps spur interdisciplinary work to develop new treatments for a range of diseases.