Skip Alexander (left) and Ted Knoll at a PGA tournament in Naples, Fla. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, BY http://floridamemory.com/items/show/75778
BY ALEX PODLOGAR
LOOK CLOSELY AT THE BLACK-AND-WHITE PHOTOS in the hall of the Pinehurst Resort Clubhouse. The ones aged by time and history. The winning United States team at the 1951 Ryder Cup played on Pinehurst No. 2 stands together, smiles wide on their faces and nattily attired in light suits befitting the American South culture.
Captained by Sam Snead and led by Ben Hogan, the U.S. team had little trouble with their counterparts from Britain. The Americans won handily 9 ½-2 1/2, as The Wardrobe, Jimmy Demaret capped perhaps the greatest Ryder Cup career in the game’s long history.
Wedged between Snead and Hogan is Skip Alexander, a rising star on the fledgling PGA Tour and a former All-American from nearby Duke University. At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Alexander can’t be missed, his hair slicked back in the fashion of the day, his glasses crystal clear.
So often when a PGA Tour player comes to Pinehurst, he has a history with the historic venue and famed Pinehurst No. 2.
But for 24-year-old Aussie Jason Day, Sept. 26, 2012, marked the first time he’s ever been to Pinehurst and the first look he’s ever gotten at Pinehurst No. 2.
And he liked what he saw.
“The immediate thought was how tough it was around the greens,” he said. “I was trying to get through my head how they will make this course so firm and keep it playable because it’s so tough around the greens.”
Day is an accomplished player already, and at 18 was the youngest player to win on what was then the Nationwide Tour. He was ranked as high as seventh in the world following second-place finishes at the 2011 Masters and U.S. Open and became the youngest Australian to win a PGA Tour event when he won Byron Nelson Championship in May 2010. He finished ninth of the PGA Tour money list in 2011.
Day was a big fan of the Coore and Crenshaw restoration, mentioning the 35 acres of rough removed from the golf course and the expansion of the natural waste areas with wire grass and love grass. Day expects a unique U.S. Open venue in 2014.
“If you hit it in that waste area, you can either get lucky or you can get very unlucky, depending on if you go into the tufts of grass,” he said. “It’s going to be a very, very tough U.S. Open in 2014.”
“Just think, if you miss a fairway, it’s just pretty much luck on where your ball is going to finish,” he added. “Your ball may finish into the wire grass. It may finish in the open, but you may have an awkward stance. There might be some erosion in there. Right now, it looks so natural, it’s very patchy, but it works well with the golf course. It’s all luck when you hit it in there. It’s all luck.”
The North and South Amateur is one of America’s most prestigious amateur events. It is the longest consecutively running amateur championship in the United States and boasts some of the greatest names in golf as its past champions.
One of the perks to winning the legendary tournament is not only possession of the coveted Putter Boy trophy, but also a permanent spot in the North and South Locker Room inside Pinehurst’s Resort Clubhouse. Here’s a look at some of the most distinguished lockers in the game of golf.
George C. Duttonwon the first North and South in 1901, beating A.J. Wellington. A century later, as Pinehurst celebrated 100 years of the North and South, Dutton’s son George took part in the festivities. … Continue Reading