Pinehurst 2014 U.S. Opens Archive

VIDEO: Natalie Gulbis Excited for Back-to-Back U.S. Opens at Pinehurst

LPGA Tour star Natalie Gulbis talks to Pinehurst Resort and previews the back-to-back U.S. Opens at Pinehurst in 2014.

“It’s going to be great for golf, great for us, and especially great for all those fans.”

Gulbis is excited about the USGA’s unique decision to have Pinehurst host back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014, and after closing the interview, said off camera: “It’s only 13 months? Wow, that’s coming up fast. Can’t wait, though.”

Gulbis and the other 95 of the top 100 ranked players in the world – including Paula Creamer, who’s also looking forward to the Open on Pinehurst No. 2 – are playing the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va.

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VIDEO: Paula Creamer previews the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open in Pinehurst

U.S. Open Champion Paula Creamer joins Pinehurst to preview the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, to be played in back-to-back weeks with the men’s U.S. Open on famed Pinehurst No. 2.

Creamer spoke to Pinehurst during Tuesday’s practice round at the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va.

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Live from the LPGA Tour – Kingsmill Championship

For the next two days, the Pinehurst Blog will be coming to you live from the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship, where last year Jiyai Shin needed nine playoff holes (NINE!) to clip Paula Creamer in easily the most exciting finish on the LPGA Tour a year ago.

We’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at one of the LPGA Tour’s best tournaments of the season, where all 10 of the LPGA’s Top 10 players in the world are entered into the field. Outside the top 10? Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Cristie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis, Michelle Wie, Se Ri Pak, Laura Davies, Juli Inkster – they’re all here, too.

Also here are, heretofore affectionately known (at least to us), the Pinehurst 6. All six players on Tour who are previous North and South Women’s Amateur champions – Austin Ernst (2012), Danielle Kang (2011, Alison Walshe (2007), Tseng (2005), Pressel (04) and Brittany Lang (2003).

Any requests? Leave us a comment below and we’ll try to get to it. Let’s head to the tee.

TUESDAY, APRIL 30 PRACTICE ROUND

9:58 a.m. One of the very cool things to see when you hang around the practice green: the number of players’ caddies who walk up to the previous week’s winning caddie – in this case the looper for World No. 1 Inbee Park – to congratulate him. They’ve been doing that a lot lately.

Paula Creamer arrives at the Kingsmill's practice green, much to the delight of the fans.

Paula Creamer arrives at the Kingsmill’s practice green, much to the delight of the fans.

10:15 Paula Creamer arrives to the practice green. Fans had been lining up in the area as soon as her bag appeared in the area – some 20 minutes before she arrived.

Morgan Pressel tees off on the 10th at the Kingsmill's River Course. This shot brought a loud sigh - and a re-tee.

Morgan Pressel tees off on the 10th at the Kingsmill’s River Course. This shot brought a loud sigh – and a re-tee.

10:32 As Creamer walks out, Morgan Pressel walks right on by, signing a few autographs for those who recognize her, as she heads from the 9th green to the 10th tee.

Lexi Thompson takes some time to visit with a young fan.

Lexi Thompson takes some time to visit with a young fan.

11 a.m.

THIS is what the LPGA Tour is selling. Their motto: “See why it’s DIFFERENT out here.” Lexi Thompson took a few minutes to hang out with a young fan.

11 a.m.-3 p.m. A few notes after spending four hours on the range:

  • Creamer wasn’t scheduled to play a practice round until later this afternoon, but put in a full day’s work. She spent nearly two hours on the putting green, and then another two hours on the range. She’s methodical with her routine, taking time in between shots, but she was here to work. She’s a bona fide star in golf, and much of it appears to be well-earned.
  • Also, Creamer usually has anywhere from 4-5 people around her at all times. She’s accessible to media and fans, but one thing is clear on the LPGA Tour – there are THE stars, and there’s a lot of everybody else.
  • Michelle Wie is striking in person, and on the range Tuesday, worked through one of the more unusual practice routines. After working through her bag, Wie interchanged clubs with each shot, going from wedge to driver to long iron to fairway wood, or some combination of that. Seemed odd. And no one has as exaggerated a follow-through as Wie.
  • Christina Kim is as hilarious on the range as she is on Twitter. Full force of personality. She’s fun to watch just practicing and interacting with players, caddies, volunteers and fans. You can’t help but root for her.
  • In the four hours watching players come, hit and go on the range, no one – NO ONE – had as much power as five-time major champion Yani Tseng. Just a wow factor watching her hit balls. The sound off the club, her rocket-high ball flight and strength was unmatched. And it wasn’t close.
  • Karrie Webb is a machine. Not saying that in a bad way. Just a gorgeous, tight, fluid – and repeatable – swing. No wonder she won seven majors – including two U.S. Opens – and is in the Hall of Fame.
  • Wie spent a lot of time on her phone. She has the Instagram account to prove it.
  • Coming soon – video interviews with Paula Creamer, Karrie Webb and Juli Inkster. Only 15 combined majors and five combined U.S. Open Championships there.
  • Just because you’re too polite to ask…no sign of Natalie Gulbis…yet.

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Running Diary: USGA News Conference at Pinehurst [Video]

As expected, several media outlets covered the news conference. Here are links to some of that coverage:

Joedy McCreary of the Associated Press has all bases covered.

John Dell of The Winston-Salem Journal looks at U.S. Opens that will be played with no rough.

Brian Mull of The Wilmington Star-News writes the comparison will be on between the men and women at the 2014 U.S. Opens.

Steve DeVane of The Fayetteville Observer and Chip Alexander of The Raleigh News and Observer look at how the USGA will handle security at the Opens.

Stephen Schramm of The Fayetteville Observer says the countdown has begun in Pinehurst.

Below, Pinehurst offers the most in-depth coverage of the news conference you will find anywhere with it’s running diary of the day:

Today, USGA Executive Director Mike Davis will be joined by U.S. Open Championship Director Reg Jones and Pinehurst Resort and Country Club President Don Padgett II for a news conference to preview the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships at Pinehurst No. 2.

The news conference will begin at 1 p.m. and the Pinehurst Blog will provide a live, running diary of the event. Refresh this page often to get a behind-the-scenes look at the news conference as we report live from Pinehurst.

The stage is set for today's USGA news conference to preview the 2014 back-to-back U.S. Opens in Pinehurst.

The stage is set for today’s USGA news conference to preview the 2014 back-to-back U.S. Opens in Pinehurst.

7 a.m. Already tables, chairs, staging and video are in place for the news conference, which is still six hours away. Media are expected to arrive around noon.

Today's centerpiece at each table.

Today’s centerpiece at each table.

10:37 a.m. While Reg Jones takes a moment to practice – and pantomime – his prepared remarks at the podium in a dimmed St. Andrews Room, the Pinehurst staff works on putting the finishing touches at each table, including a centerpiece that can only be found at Pinehurst.

1 p.m.

Reg Jones: “We just want to send our thoughts and prayers to everyone in Boston.”

USGA U.S. Open Championship Director Reg Jones speaks at a news conference previewing the 2014 back-to-back U.S. Opens in Pinehurst. USGA Executive Director Mike Davis (center) and Pinehurst President Don Padgett II (right) look on.

USGA U.S. Open Championship Director Reg Jones speaks at a news conference previewing the 2014 back-to-back U.S. Opens in Pinehurst. USGA Executive Director Mike Davis (center) and Pinehurst President Don Padgett II (right) look on.

“Pinehurst has become the benchmark for our championships.”

“It’s not because it makes things easier for our team inside and outside the ropes. This was not a decision that was financially motivated.”

… Continue Reading

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[VIDEO] Curtis Strange talks Pinehurst No. 2, previews 2014 U.S. Opens

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about Pinehurst.

The two-time U.S. Open champion knows a little something about Open venues as well.

So when Strange got his first look at the Pinehurst No. 2 restoration during the recent Liberty Mutual Invitational, the man who won two North and South Amateur titles while starring at Wake Forest in the mid-1970s could easily envision how the course and the championship would mesh together.

Few, in fact, could do it better.

And Curtis Strange liked what he saw.

“When I first see this, it takes me back to the 70s to my old North and South days, because it’s very similar to the way it used to be,” Strange said.

Strange is also a fan of one of the most significant changes to the USGA’s U.S. Open preparation of No. 2 – the switching of the fourth hole to a long par-4 and the fifth to a daunting par-5, complete with new back tee boxes.

“You know, the back tee, it looks pretty doggone good. I like it. I really do,” Strange said.

Pinehurst is a special place for the World Golf Hall of Famer. Strange won the prestigious North and South Amateur in 1975 and 1976 and earned his PGA Tour card in 1977 after qualifying on No. 2. Strange went on to win 17 times on Tour, including the 1988 and ’89 U.S. Opens, becoming the first man since Ben Hogan to win back-to-back Opens.

“It’s golf,” Strange said of Pinehurst. “If I had six days before the Good Lord took me, I’d want to come here and play golf.”

*Curtis Strange appeared at Pinehurst on behalf of Liberty Mutual Insurance.

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