“It’s going to be interesting,” Mahan told us in the video above. “You can get some really good breaks out of there and … it could be easier than a sand shot; you could have pretty easy access to the greens. And then you can be in real trouble and (have to) think your way around it… I think you’ll see a lot of great shots out of there and a lot of terrible shots.”
Some 200 media members, USGA officials and Pinehurst staff members gathered in the St. Andrews Room at the Pinehurst Resort Clubhouse on Monday to look ahead seven weeks to the unprecedented running of the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open on consecutive weeks, the venue being the renowned No. 2 course.
The thread running throughout: There is going to be a different taste, feel and flavor of Open championships in June 2014.
The prospects for the third Open to be held on No. 2 following Payne Stewart’s win in 1999 and Michael Campbell’s victory in 2005 were discussed. “I think one of the older players, a guy with some maturity who can let the bad breaks roll off his back might have a good chance,” said Bill Coore, who along with partner Ben Crenshaw restored the course in 2010-12. “Patience will be a very important quality to have the week of the Open.”
The logistics of ending the men’s competition on Sunday June 15, perhaps staging an 18-hole playoff on Monday and then transitioning into the Women’s Open week were addressed. Ben Kimball, the USGA official in charge of the Women’s Open, said that a playoff in the men’s championship would begin at Noon local time on Monday and the course would be open for practice rounds for the ladies at 6:45 a.m. “A Monday playoff will set up the possibility of the men’s and women’s competitors hitting balls side by side, which will only add to the excitement of this event,” Kimball said. “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens come this June.”
And after a round under glorious Carolina blue skies (sorry, Wolfpackers; have to call it like it is) at U.S. Open Media Day, the platinum-selling country music star andAmerican Idol winner took a few minutes to tell us about his first round on No. 2, his recollections of attending the 1999 U.S. Open as a “youngster,” and then added a few bars of the song he most associates with Pinehurst.