Pinehurst Golf News Archive

Video: Sir Nick Faldo Says Yes to Sand, Previews 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst

 

Sir Nick Faldo made his second trip in the last 11 months to Pinehurst to participate in a Glenmorangie event, but took a few minutes after his golf clinic to discuss the Coore & Crenshaw restoration of Pinehurst No. 2, which will host back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014.

Faldo said that PGA Tour players are not accustomed to playing shots out of waste areas with native grasses, but added that he believes players will welcome the myriad options they will have playing out of Pinehurst-style rough.

Faldo also said he could see golf course design mirroring Pinehurst No. 2′s restoration in the future, and reflected on his troubles – and Payne Stewart’s triumph – at the 1999 U.S. Open.

Faldo, the 6-time major champion and Hall-of-Famer? Troubles at No. 2? But why?

Because of Donald Ross – and fear.

And from Sir Nick’s last visit…Storytime at Pinehurst…

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9.11.01 We Will Never Forget

Pinehurst Flag Half Staff

Our thoughts, our hearts, our prayers remain with those we honor and remember today.

We will never forget.

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Impromptu Wedding Bells on Pinehurst No. 2 [Video]

Navy man Steve Gonzalez and his fiancée Wendy Ross originally wanted a small wedding, a quick ceremony, and considered even eloping. But with two large families, that wasn’t going to happen.

Until Pinehurst came in.

Both huge golf fans, Steve and Wendy decided to make a quick trip to Pinehurst a week before the pending nuptials. What Wendy didn’t know was Steve (and his close friend Gary Beaver) decided to go with the original wedding plans with a bit of a twist – exchange vows behind the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2.

And so, in the minutes before their scheduled tee time on Donald Ross’s masterpiece, up walked U.S. Navy Chaplin Thomas Cook. And in less than 15 minutes, with the bride donning a lovely Pinehurst sweater and the groom comfortably wearing his black TaylorMade golf cap, Cook introduced Mr. and Mrs. Steven Gonzalez on a cool September morning in Pinehurst.

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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.

 

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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.

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