Six-time major championship winner Sir Nick Faldo recently led a golf clinic at Pinehurst Resort. In between incredible insight and golf instruction, Faldo mixed in anecdotes from his world of golf, including stories about Ernie Els, Sam Snead, Ivan Corona and all of us hackers. (HINT: There’s playing in the wind for Nick Faldo, and playing in the wind for the rest of us.)
Sir Nick Faldo, a six-time major championship winner, recently visited Pinehurst as part of a BMW function, running about 15-to-20 minutes extra on what was supposed to be a 1-hour golf clinic. He also took the time to chat with Pinehurst Resort (despite blistering wind as Hurricane Sandy was near the Carolina coast) about the perils of playing Pinehurst No. 2, the fear involved in chipping here, and also gave his opinion on the controversy surrounding banning anchored putters and talked his new book, an updated version of A Swing for Life, which will hit stores on Nov. 6.
For STORYTIME WITH SIR NICK AT PINEHURST, go here.
A day ago, many of those connected to Pinehurst remembered Payne Stewart, winner of the 99th U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2, on the 13th anniversary of his tragic death. It was a beautiful Carolina Autumn day, with temperatures rising near 80 as the bright blue sky above housed a generous sun and a light breeze. Tables on the Resort Club’s veranda were full at lunchtime.
The next morning, though, a billowing fog draped Pinehurst’s hallowed grounds, as if to doff the cap again to Stewart in memoriam. It was only three days after Stewart’s passing on Oct. 28, 1999, that the PGA Tour and several Tour players gathered before the 1999 Tour Championship at Champions Golf Course in Houston as a heavy fog surrounded them and bagpiper Steve Agan for a memorial service to honor Stewart’s life.
Today, to see the fog lightly brush the pinetops and sprinkle the rolling sandhills with dew could only tug on Stewart’s memory in Pinehurst a little harder.
Yes, we miss you, Payne. We always will.
Don Potter stood in the middle of Pinehurst No. 2′s 18th fairway, 155 yards from the green. In the distance, he could see the iconic Payne Stewart statue. No one has played the 18th better in a bigger spot than Payne Stewart.
But Don Potter tried.
A heady wind facing him, Potter made his wisest decision of the day. “I listened to my caddie,” he said.
Just 155 away, Potter’s caddie told him to play it 170. Potter took the advice, pulled a 5 iron and set up for a punch shot as his approach.
Potter rifled the shot on a line Payne has seen few times in his time adjacent to the finishing green of one of the world’s most demanding courses. Potter knew it looked good.
Then he heard the roars.
Potter came to Pinehurst with his group S.T.A.G. – The Royal Society of Soon-to-Be-Ancient Golfers. Most of his group had finished its round, and awaiting the final pairings to come up the 18th, the group was watching the action from the Resort Club’s back veranda. They are the ones who saw Potter’s ball roll straight into the cup for an eagle 2.
“I only heard it,” said Potter, who hails from Chicago. “It was downright fantastic.”
Potter was given the flag from the pin as a keepsake for his eagle. It was a great cap to a trip in which S.T.A.G. donated $7,000 to the Carolinas Golf Association to promote junior golf.
Oh, and one more thing: On the tee, Potter needed eagle to break 80.
He got it.