Erin Hills Competitions
Director John Morrissett, left, talks with photographer
Paul Hundley Wednesday morning during the third day of
practice rounds for the 117th U.S. Open Championship at
John Ehlke/Conley News
TOWN OF ERIN — Jim Reinhart, general chairman for the
U.S. Open at Erin Hills Golf Course, called John
Morrissett “our MVP for behind the scenes.”
Morrissett is the competitions director for the course.
As competitions director, he does just that: oversees
the competition planned for Erin Hills, including this
week’s U.S. Open.
would’ve been overwhelming,” Reinhart said when asked
what planning for the U.S. Open would have been like
without Morrissett. “It would not have happened the way
it has without John being here. It’s pretty simple.
“He’s such a great team player.”
Several people have been labeled as instrumental for
bringing the U.S. Open to Erin Hills. Those names
include Bob Lang, Andy Ziegler, Dana Fry, Ron Whitten
and Michael Hurdzan. And all are deserving of it. But
Reinhart would put Morrissett and Zach Reineking, Erin
Hills superintendent, in that grouping as well.
“John’s contribution is invaluable,” Reinhart said. “He
and Zach Reineking have been behind the scenes. Zach has
been in the spotlight lately to some extent. But none of
this would’ve happened the way it has without John.
We’re very fortunate he joined us.”
“It’s been so much easier for Andy Ziegler and me to
know that we’ve got somebody that understands
championship golf,” Reinhart added. “It was a wonderful
journey to Erin Hills
Morrissett came to Erin Hills about six weeks after the
announcement was made in 2010 at Pebble Beach that Erin
Hills was getting the 2017 U.S. Open. That ended a
17-year run for Morrissett in the rules department with
the United States Golf Association, the governing body
for several national golf tournaments, including the
remember at the time when the announcement was made. I
remember it very well. The USGA had told me a few months
earlier. I was living in the Kohler/Sheboygan area,
working out of my house,” Morrissett said. “They told me
that they wanted me to move to their headquarters in New
Jersey. I was going back and forth on what to do.”
was April 2010, four months removed from his divorce
with his wife and his daughter was 8 years old. As he
contemplated his decision, he knew his ex-wife and his
daughter were staying in Wisconsin. Thus, if he moved to
New Jersey, he would do so alone. The USGA wanted him in
New Jersey by January 2012.
loved my job with the USGA,” Morrissett said. “But I
just couldn’t move away from my daughter.”
about that same time, he got a call from Reinhart, a
knew that, especially with the U.S. Amateur coming (to
Erin Hills in 2011), that Erin Hills was looking to hire
somebody to focus on the U.S. Amateur,” Morrissett said.
late May 2010, Morrissett had a detached retina. He
described that as “pure hell.”
Reinhart was adamant Morrissett meet Ziegler, the new
owner of Erin Hills, for lunch.
Planning for the U.S. Open in 2017 was in its infancy at
the time. However, planning for the 2011 Men’s U.S.
Amateur wasn’t and that was key.
Reinhart said he and Ziegler wanted to host amateur
championships at Erin Hills, such as the U.S. Amateur,
the Wisconsin State Amateur — which happened in July
2015 — and collegiate tournaments.
Morrissett said he wasn’t sure if Reinhart was aware of
his situation. Reinhart was, which was why, he made the
push for Morrissett.
bring such an incredible knowledge of championship
golf,” Reinhart said. “I really understood who he was as
a person and the knowledge he had.”
Morrissett said he couldn’t drive to the lunch meeting
because of his eye. So, on a rainy day, Reinhart drove
from Mequon, picked up Morrissett in Sheboygan and drove
back down to the Milwaukee Country Club and had lunch
whole lunch one of my eyes was closed,” Morrissett said.
“I’m trying to have this serious conversation and my eye
was tearing up. I’m sure I looked awful.”
USGA wanted Morrissett to move to its headquarters
because they wanted people from the rules committee to
be on site, rather than be remote through phone calls,
faxes and/or emails.
“(Reinhart) called me, probably unaware of my situation,
and said, ‘Just so you know, at Erin Hills, we’re going
to be looking to hire a tournament director for the U.S.
Amateur and if you know anybody that would be a good
candidate, let us know.’” He did know someone: himself.
About two months later, Morrissett was hired by Erin
hindsight it was incredible timing,” he said. “Glad it
happened when it did. The time of that was an incredible
Reinhart would agree that Morrissett’s presence at Erin
Hills was a blessing every day for the last seven years
because no one else on staff had an idea of how to
prepare for all the logistics surrounding a championship
such as the U.S. Open.
“John is good at what he does,” Reinhart said. “He
understands championship golf, maybe better than anyone
else. It was really important to have John here.”