October News

Phil Mickelson sheds more light on prepping for Pinehurst

 

No doubt, Lefty is narrowing his season all around Pinehurst.

Phil Mickelson has shed more light on how he will alter and shorten his 2014 playing schedule in anticipation for the U.S. Open on Pinehurst No. 2.

Mickelson recently told reporters he plans to play in the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis the week before the Open at Pinehurst as a tuneup.

“I enjoyed and felt like playing Memphis the week before was very helpful for me to be ready,” said Mickelson, who added a sixth runner-up finish at the U.S. Open this past summer a week after taking second at St. Jude. “They are very similar grasses at Memphis as we have at Pinehurst, with the exception of the greens being bent at Pinehurst … so I plan to play Memphis.”

 

Mickelson added he intends to play The Memorial this season. The Memorial is contested May 29-June – a week before St. Jude and two before the Open. Mickelson said he typically likes playing a three-week stretch of tournaments entering majors, but said the Memorial/St. Jude/U.S. Open trifecta will be the only time he plays three weeks in succession this season.

It also sounds like Lefty will be a regular visitor to Pinehurst in the coming months.

“But I plan on having two weeks prior to the U.S. Open lead up, and I’ll have some time in Pinehurst prior to that,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson’s first of his storied runner-up Open finishes came in 1999 at Pinehurst No. 2. He was tied for 33rd at the 2005 Open at Pinehurst.

 

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Going to Bermuda – via Pinehurst

Pinehurst No. 3

Pinehurst No. 3 reopened on Oct. 4 – with Bermuda greens.

What Goes Around, Comes Around

By Lee Pace

The old-timers remember the taut Bermuda grass greens of Pinehurst No. 2 as being as much a part of the experience as the wide fairways, sandy roughs and beveled greens complexes.

“There was nothing like playing those old Bermuda greens,” says Lanny Wadkins, a frequent Pinehurst visitor in the 1960s from his Richmond home and later a mainstay on the PGA Tour.

“They were firm and quick and there was no room for error.”

“The course was built on this pure sand base, and the greens were the identity of the course,” remembers David Eger, who visited from Charlotte often as a junior golfer in the 1960s, later won two North and South Amateurs and now is a regular on the PGA Champions Tour. “The greens were Bermuda at the time and they all sat up and had plateaus where you had to invent shots around the greens. It was very challenging if you missed the greens.”

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We still miss you, Payne

Oct. 25, 1999.

We still miss you, Payne.

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Phil Mickelson to scale back schedule to focus on U.S. Open in Pinehurst

 

Phil Mickelson said Wednesday he plans to scale back his tournament schedule to narrow his focus on winning the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

“There is no hiding the fact that winning the U.S. Open would be my career goal, completing the career grand slam,” Mickelson said before the PGA Tour’s CIMB Classic in Malaysia.

 

 

Mickelson has finished as the U.S. Open runner-up six times – famously finishing a shot back of Payne Stewart to place second for the first time in 1999. After winning the Open Championship in July, Mickelson is aiming to become only the sixth player in history to complete the career Grand Slam.

His first chance to etch his name further into history comes at Donald Ross’s famed Pinehurst No. 2 in June 2014. Pinehurst will add to its storied history itself when it hosts the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens in consecutive weeks.

“I want to give myself opportunities to play and compete in the big tournaments, mainly saying the majors, and I’m putting less importance on other events,” Mickelson said.

Mickelson appeared in 20 tournaments last season. For comparison, Tiger Woods, who typically approaches a season focused heavily on performing in major championships, competed in 16 tournaments.

Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Gene Sarazen andWoods are the five to win the career slam.

 

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VIDEO: Jim Furyk on No. 2 – “You’re looking at a brand new golf course.”

 

Jim Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open Champion and 16-time PGA Tour winner, visited Pinehurst with friends to play a casual round on the restored Pinehurst No. 2.

Furyk came away impressed by the new look of the course on which he made the cut in both 1999 and 2005, and marveled at the thought of adding his name to the walls of the historic Pinehurst Resort Clubhouse.

“This a place where time stands still,” he says.

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