Pinehurst Golf News Archive

Payne’s caddie Mike Hicks recalls ’99 Open, announces retirement

Mike Hicks was there every step of the way – including Payne Stewart’s final one, when as the ball dropped into the cup on the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2 in the 1999 U.S. Open, Stewart lifted onto one leg, his fist punching through the misty air.

Hicks caddied for Stewart for 12 years, picking up the job after toting the bag for two-time North & South Amateur and U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange (Video). Until Stewart’s untimely passing in a plane crash in October 1999, Hicks didn’t know how good he had it, saying, “I had a deal that you just don’t get.”

Caddie Mike Hicks jumps into the arms of Payne Stewart after Stewart won the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

Caddie Mike Hicks jumps into the arms of Payne Stewart after Stewart won the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

Hicks, 52, who has caddied for several big names since Stewart’s passing, told David Droschak this week he is retiring after 33 years as a caddie. After opening a golf-teaching school near his home in Mebane, Hicks told Droschak he’ll only return to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in 2014 if his son Jacob, a sophomore on East Carolina’s golf team, qualifies.

Hicks spoke at length about his time with Stewart, professionally and personally, and of the magical week in Pinehurst.

“I never read a putt that whole week, not one,” Hicks said. “I did nothing that week other than carry the golf bag and offer words of encouragement. I think I pulled one club and that was with a lay-up shot on the 10th hole, a par-5. That was unusual. It was weird that week; Payne was just in his own little world. In 1998 when he lost the U.S. Open everybody was saying that’s too bad, but that guy took nothing but positive out of that. He wanted to prove to himself that he could still do it.”

Please read the full feature here. It’s well worth your time, especially if you, like us, continue to hold a soft spot in your heart for Payne.

 

Leave a comment

Remembering the great Bill Campbell

Distinguished amateur champion golfer Bill Campbell, left, accepts the trophy after winning the prestigious North & South Amateur at Pinehurst in 1953. Campbell won the North & South four times, good for the second-most all-time in the 113-year history of the prestigious amateur championship.

Distinguished amateur champion golfer Bill Campbell, left, accepts gifts after winning the prestigious North & South Amateur at Pinehurst in 1953. Campbell won the North & South four times, good for the second-most all-time in the 113-year history of the prestigious amateur championship. Photo courtesy of the Tufts Archives

BY LEE PACE

The news of the passing of amateur golf eminence William C. Campbell on Aug. 30 sent me to my file drawer to pull the manila repository of notes, letters, photos and clippings on the gentleman from Huntington, W.Va.

I met him in the winter of 1991 while writing the book Pinehurst Stories, and he proved over more than two decades to be a font of insight, color and detail on the rich lives of Pinehurst and amateur golf from the mid-20th century and beyond. A four-time winner of the North and South Amateur, the 1964 U.S. Amateur champion and at various times the head of the USGA and the R&A, Campbell embodied the skills of running a business, raising a family and playing expert golf—the latter for the pure enjoyment of it without financial return. Campbell was 90 years old upon his passing.

Among the highlights from my notes and conversations over the years is this excerpt from a talk he gave to the Tin Whistles Club of Pinehurst in 1990:

“Indeed it is a pleasure for me to return to Pinehurst, where I left part of my heart long ago—another part having been left in St. Andrews. I regard Pinehurst as the golf capital of the New World, our own St. Andrews, if you will, each inspiring pilgrimages from afar. Pinehurst is more than good golf courses; it is a state of a mind and a feeling for the game, its aesthetics, courtesies and emotions.”

Bill Campbell, who won the 1964 U.S. Amateur, won his first and fourth North & South Amateur championships a staggering 17 years apart - the longest span between championships in the Amateur's history.

Bill Campbell, who won the 1964 U.S. Amateur, won his first and fourth North & South Amateur championships a staggering 17 years apart – the longest span between a single player’s victories in the North & South Amateur’s history.

‘And this from that initial interview about his annual springtime visit to Pinehurst for the North and South Amateur:

“I made a point to make that pilgrimage every year, except for one year when I was running for Congress. In 1950 I was invited to play in the Masters—what a great combination that was, Augusta and Pinehurst. I attached myself to Pinehurst. I relished the relationships, the fixtures at the club, the caddies, the fellow golfers. Pinehurst was a pure experience, you got back to basics, basics in the sense of playing golf for the pure enjoyment of the game, the competition and the fellowship.”

On the flavor and personality of No. 2:

“It had many characteristics of a true seaside links and you had many fast-running, bouncing approach shots. I played well over a hundred competitive rounds there and never got tired of the strategic choices you had to make.”

And from a 2011 conversation about his ancestral home of Scotland and its position as the birthplace of golf:

“Life wasn’t always easy for the Scots. They had a lot of fight in them. They had to. They had to fight for everything. They learned that life was not always fair. But as long as you had a chance, you were all right. Golf is like that. You hit a bad shot, you get a bad bounce, what do you want? A chance for a recovery, a chance for redemption.”

Lee Pace is a regular contributor to the Pinehurst Blog. He latest book, “The Golden Age of Pinehurst—The Rebirth of No. 2,” is available in all retail shops at Pinehurst.

Leave a comment

Tales From the PGA Tour – The New Q-School

Pinehurst's Darron Stiles is optimistic about his start to the 2013 PGA Tour season.

Pinehurst’s Darron Stiles is optimistic about the Web.com Tour Finals.

 

Pinehurst member Darron Stiles is the Web.Com Tour’s all-time career money-winner, which people who don’t know any better would say makes him the Crash Davis of golf. That isn’t accurate, of course, because Stiles has had five seasons on the PGA Tour, and the Web.com Tour success has translated to more than $1.8 million in earnings. Stiles has also earned more than $1.6 million in his six PGA Tour seasons.

Take that, Nuke.

After an up-and-down season on the PGA Tour, Stiles now finds himself a part of the Web.com Tour Finals, a four-tournament sprint to determine the 50 players who will earn their PGA Tour cards for the 2013-14 season. Stiles, a Pinehurst Country Club member, is a regular contributor to the Pinehurst Blog, and will share his experience in the new – and controversial – Tour qualifying process.

BY DARRON STILES

Howdy folks!  I am back after a self-induced hiatus. (Golf will do that to you.) I will be writing over the next few weeks about the new structure for the PGA Tour qualification process.

PGA Tour Q- School as we have come to know it over the last few decades is no more. We are beginning a new process this season to determine the 50 players who will graduate to the PGA Tour.

And I’m a part of it.

… Continue Reading

Leave a comment

Why Pinehurst in 2014?

 

Why Pinehurst in 2014? Why does the USGA feel like Pinehurst is the ideal setting to stage unprecedented back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014?

It’s a question many asked when the initial announcement was made. It’s a question that continues to persist.

So over the course of the last year, we’ve asked some of the game’s best players a simple question:

Why Pinehurst?

Leave a comment

Pinehurst No. 2 – A Timeline of Greatness

CELEBRATING OVER 100 YEARS OF PINEHURST NO. 2

In 2007, Pinehurst Resort celebrated the Centennial of its most famed golf course, Pinehurst No. 2.  Site of more individual amateur and championship events, its history marks the story of the game itself – from early agronomy and course architecture, to the making of legends.  We invite you to share in its rich heritage.

Historic Timeline

A sand green on an early photo of Pinehurst No. 2. Photo courtesy of the Tufts Archives.

A sand green on an early photo of Pinehurst No. 2. Photo courtesy of the Tufts Archives

1907:    Pinehurst No. 2 opens as an 18-hole course for the fall season.  Total yardage:  5,860.

The Pinehurst Outlook  reports in 1907 “Pinehurst is now watched by the entire world in the affairs of golf, for it sets the fashion in this particular just as Paris is the center to which the world of fashion looks expectantly spring, summer, fall and winter.”

Donald Ross, course architect, incorporates such elements as 60 ft. square sand/clay greens, “whisker” mounds of native wire grass, cross hazards, and sand bunkers in front of the greens.

1908:    Walter Travis plays Pinehurst No. 2 in October and tells the local newspaper, “I know of no course, north or south, which provides a more thorough test or better golf, and none which gives such diversity.”

… Continue Reading

Leave a comment