Pinehurst 2014 U.S. Opens Archive

Long winter? No problem for Pinehurst No. 2

Pinehurst No. 2 Superintendent Kevin Robinson, right, stands with Bill Coore during the Pinehurst No. 2 restoration.

Pinehurst No. 2 Superintendent Kevin Robinson, right, stands with Bill Coore during the No. 2 restoration.

A fluky winter unlike any of the past 2 decades prompts the question: Has it affected No. 2′s readiness and playing conditions for the back-to-back U.S. Opens?
Not at all
By LEE PACE

The countdown ticker to the left of this missive on The Pinehurst Blog clicked down to 90 a week a week and a half ago. That’s when Kevin Robinson, the course superintendent of Pinehurst No. 2, took real notice of the impending arrival of the unprecedented back-to-back national championships scheduled on the 107-year-old golf course.

“It hit 90 and I said, ‘Wow,’ it’s almost here,” Robinson says. “It’s like it’s ticking down five at a time now instead of one.”

Robinson is making an early morning tour of the course on the second day of spring, dressed in layers and warm gloves as the sun rises above the horizon and begins boosting the 35-degree temperature. All golf superintendents are slaves to the 10-day weather forecast, and Robinson winces a little at the specter of a couple of upper-20 degree nights forecast for the following week.

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One Moment – For All Time

And now, at 100 days or less, the race is on to the start of the 2014 U.S. Open – and even more history at Pinehurst.

But as we look ahead, we know that a visit to Pinehurst is never complete until you pause and take a moment to look back. We see you taking your photos or silently reflecting every day, and we think we know why.

The iconic Payne Stewart statue – When a statue is so much more than just a statue.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We had to make one more update to this post. We didn’t get this photo quite in time for it to make the video, but it absolutely needed a home. This is the best Pinehurst-related photo we’ve seen in a long, long time. Great thanks to Lindsay Wilder Riney.

 

And a special thanks to our followers on Facebook, who jumped at the chance to contribute to this video:

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USGA & Pinehurst Find “Middle” Ground

Vintage Hole No. 9 (2)
USGA Executive Director Mike Davis goes more in-depth about Pinehurst No. 2 setup for the back-to-back U.S. Opens

By LEE PACE

It was at the USGA’s annual meeting held at Pinehurst in February 2010 that incoming USGA President Jim Hyler spoke of the association’s initiative to promote more natural looking golf courses, groomed with less water and chemicals and fewer man-hours.

“Our definition of playability should include the concepts of firm, fast and yes, even brown, and allow the running game to flourish,” Hyler said. “We need to understand how brown can become the new green.”

“You just hope around the world, people will look at this golf course and say, ‘It doesn’t have to be lush and green.’” -Mike Davis

Four years later, the USGA is on the cusp of staging back-to-back U.S. Opens on a Pinehurst No. 2 course that will perfectly illustrate those concepts. The 1907 Donald Ross-designed course was restored from 2010-11 by architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and the removal of some 35 acres of Bermuda rough and 700 sprinkler heads has resulted in a course more representative of a mid-1900s course than a modern one groomed to perfection with water, fertilizer and staff labor.

Mike Davis, USGA executive director speaks at the USGA news conference during the 2014 Annual Meeting at the Pinehurst Resort in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Mike Davis, USGA executive director speaks at the USGA news conference during the 2014 Annual Meeting at the Pinehurst Resort in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

“It’s a throwback to the old days and the idea of ‘maintenance up the middle,’” Executive Director Mike Davis said Saturday at the USGA’s annual meeting, back again in Pinehurst. “This is a major focus of our Green Section. Maintain the middle of the golf course and spend less time and money on irrigation, fertilizer and fungicides in the roughs. Go back to the way golf used to be played. You use less resources and you reduce the cost.

“You just hope around the world, people will look at this golf course and say, ‘It doesn’t have to be lush and green.’ Maintenance up the middle is a great message for the game.”

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VIDEO: USGA awards highest honor to Payne Stewart

On Friday, Feb. 7, in the shadow of the Payne Stewart memorial statue behind the 18th green of famed Pinehurst No. 2, the USGA announced the late Payne Stewart as the recipient of the 2014 Bob Jones Award, the organization’s highest honor.

Stewart memorably won the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst with a dramatic 15-foot par putt to clip a young Phil Mickelson by a single shot. Tragically, Stewart died in a plane crash just four months later.

Immediately as incoming USGA President Thomas J. O’Toole Jr. began to make the announcement, the nearby Village Chapel chimes began to ring, eerily similar to the moment they chimed as Stewart sized up his 77-yard pitch to the 18th green to set up the historic finish.

“Payne’s legacy continues to shine as an inspiration to players of all ages.” USGA President Thomas J. O’Toole Jr.

“Payne’s legacy continues to shine as an inspiration to players of all ages,” said O’Toole Jr.. “His spirit and gracious attitude left an indelible mark on everyone who surrounded him. His presence can still be felt by players who were fortunate enough to play with him and by the junior golfers that his Payne Stewart Foundation continues to support.”

“Payne’s larger-than-life personality made him one of the most likable players by peers and fans alike,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “Payne’s strength of character showed through clearly in victory and defeat, which he personally experienced in the U.S. Open. It is only fitting that we will make the presentation of this award to a two-time champion at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in June for players and fans to enjoy.”

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Pinehurst’s Bob Farren talks shop on “Morning Drive”

Pinehurst Director of Grounds and Golf Course Maintenance Bob Farren appeared on The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive on Feb. 6 to discuss famed Pinehurst No. 2* as he and his team ready for the 2014 U.S. Opens.

*As an aside, unfortunately the video used by Golf Channel for the segment is a little dated. Here’s how the 18th green looks today – after the $3.8 million clubhouse renovation:

Pinehurst No. 2 18th Hole

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