2014 has arrived.
And Pinehurst is ready.
2014 has arrived.
And Pinehurst is ready.
As we continue to look back on 2013 at Pinehurst (and get set to turn the page to the year we’ve all been waiting for with breathless anticipation), here’s the countdown of our most popular blog posts and stories from 2013.
For more Best of Pinehurst, check out our countdowns in…
Hall of Fame basketball coach Roy Williams has always had an affinity for golf, so at his most recent Pinehurst visit, we chatted with him about how golf and basketball might be linked (Scroll to 1:45 in the above video). But we also asked what rounds of golf were like with Michael Jordan and Dean Smith, and even heard Roy’s best story about golfing with Coach Smith – and it happened right here on Pinehurst No. 2 (3:45).
But once we asked about Roy Williams’ philosophy concerning taking timeouts – or, in reality, NOT TAKING timeouts – that’s when the post hit the message boards and began to spread like wildfire. (Scroll to 5:45.)
An animated Furyk came away impressed – and even marveled at the thought of adding his name to the walls of the historic Pinehurst Resort Clubhouse.
One of our best additions to the Pinehurst Blog this year has been the writing of acclaimed author Lee Pace, as valuable a historian on Pinehurst and its place in golf as you will find anywhere on the planet. Lee authored several intriguing posts for us this year, and will continue to do so leading up to the U.S. Opens in 2014.
Here, Pace tells the story of how Bobby Jones came to choose Alister MacKenzie over the famed Donald Ross to design Augusta National – and breaking a supposed handshake agreement with Ross in the process. Read the role the fate of golf – and losing – played into Jones’ decision, and the legendary impact the decision made on Ross and his vision for what No. 2 could become.
One thing you learn when you work at Pinehurst – have the camera ready.
Pinehurst is a place synonymous with history. It is the Cradle of American Golf, the St. Andrews of America. But the beauty of Pinehurst is that its history is always an evolving one. In less than six months, history will again call Pinehurst home with unprecedented back-to-back U.S. Opens.
It is because of Pinehurst’s lasting and continuing place in golf and Southern hospitality so many want to be here and experience what makes our home so special. And so they come, whether it’s for leisure and a round of golf, or to preview their chance at earning a seat with the game’s immortality.
But as we also saw, history can happen on any day at Pinehurst. And in 2013, it did.
And we had the camera rolling.
Here are Pinehurst’s Top 5 most-viewed videos of 2013.
Phil Mickelson, no doubt a darling at Pinehurst and perhaps the most anticipated storyline entering the 2014 U.S. Open, appeared on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive on Friday, and among many other things in a show pretty much dedicated to all things Lefty, recalled the previous U.S. Opens at Pinehurst, including his fascinating duel with the iconic Payne Stewart in 1999.
Mickelson also elaborated about his much-discussed shortening of his 2014 schedule, how he plans to prepare for Pinehurst in an effort to finally capture the elusive U.S. Open Championship, and what it would mean to him to complete the career Grand Slam at Pinehurst.
First, a sampling of some Mickelson’s recollections of the 1999 U.S. Open, his first of six runner-up finishes in the national championship:
And, we find out, had there been a playoff, Mickelson would’ve been on an airplane:
“99 is a tournament I’ll always remember, and I’ll actually cherish, too. A lot of great things came from that event even though it was a heartbreaking loss. And one of the great things that happened was Payne Stewart winning that tournament. He played some great golf, but also having lost him four months later, it was very meaningful to have him win there. Also, the next day, at 11 o’clock in the morning, Amy’s water broke, and we would’ve been in a playoff, and I would’ve been flying back anyway. It just turned out the way it was supposed to. Hopefully I’ll be able to go back there next year and take some of that emotion and apply it to my game, play well and capture my first U.S. Open. That would be such an emotional venue and opportunity for me to finally get my first U.S. Open.”
Regarding Payne Stewart’s first magical putt – a wild double- or triple-breaker for par on 16:
Tiger Woods hasn’t won a major championship since he beat Rocco Mediate – and the rest of the field – on one leg to win the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
Might that 15th major come nearly exactly five years later at Pinehurst?
“Pinehurst, I’ve had a third and a second, and hopefully it will keep improving like it has,” Woods said after finishing third at the Turkish Airlines Open.
2014 sets up well for Woods if he is going to continue his assault on Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major victories. While he’s always a contender at The Masters, Woods has also won previously at Hoylake and Valhalla, the hosts of The Open Championship and the PGA Championship.
But Pinehurst is right there in the mix as well, and Woods feels pretty good about his game entering the 2014 season.
“A couple of years ago there were a lot of guys saying I could never win again,” Woods told the media. “I’ve got eight wins since then, so it’s been good and I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made.”
“Pinehurst, I’ve had a third and a second, and hopefully it will keep improving like it has.” -Tiger Woods
Woods finished two shots back of Payne Stewart in 1999 after making a charge with birdies on 14 and 16, but failed to get up-and-down from a bunker to make bogey after missing a short putt on the par-3 17th, a hole Stewart birdied with a similar putt to take a 1-shot lead over Phil Mickelson, a lead that held up with Stewart’s heroics on 18.
In 2005, it seemed like Retief Goosen was on his way to a third U.S. Open title until his blew up on Sunday. Woods made a Sunday charge, but Kiwi Michael Campbell, with birdies on 10, 13 and 17, held off that charge to prevail, later telling us at Merion in 2013, “The heart of the week was holding off Tiger. I had the best player in the world chasing me down.”
Pinehurst No. 2 has proven to be a favorite of Woods’s.
“Fun golf is Pinehurst,” Woods said a few years ago. “Fun golf is playing links golf. Fun golf is learning to how to maneuver the ball on the ground and give yourself options. One of the hardest up-and-downs is when you have options. You have so many different ways to play and you see a lot of pros really mess up easy shots because they have so many different options.”
Woods isn’t the only all-timer to set his focus on Pinehurst. Phil Mickelson has already gone on the record that he will shorten his 2014 playing schedule to focus on playing well on No. 2 in 2014.
Woods has won just once on Pinehurst grounds – the “Big I,”, or the 1992 Insurance Youth Golf Classic, which was played on Pinehurst No. 7 – and he was 17. During those rounds, his gallery swelled to 75 people. He was hounded for autographs even then, saying, “The price of fame, I guess,” with a smile.