Pinehurst Golf News Archive

Excerpt from “Slaying the Tiger” – The 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Shane Ryan’s new book, “Slaying the Tiger: A Year Inside the Ropes of the New PGA Tour.”  Ryan dives into the 2014 U.S. Open on Pinehurst No. 2, the USGA, some of the – ahem – more interesting thoughts on Coore and Crenshaw’s 2010 restoration of Donald Ross’s masterpiece. You can purchase the book here.

“Charlie Price, the great writer, he’d say Pinehurst in his day was fairways, and the fairways were oases within sandy country. The wispy rye grass, pine needles and sand, the little tufts of ground, that’s what Pinehurst was.” —Ben  Crenshaw,  to, on the restoration of Pinehurst No. 2


In the nine years preceding the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, the winning score was even par or worse six times. Two of the three winners who actually went under par—Tiger Woods in 2008 and Lucas Glover the next year—stayed nice and close, at -1 and -4, respectively. The only exception came in 2011, when Rory McIlroy put on a historic show at Congressional Country Club, decimating a difficult track to the tune of -16 and asserting himself as one of the world’s best players.

The first winner in that difficult stretch was Michael Campbell, who won at the Pinehurst Resort in the Sandhills of North Carolina with even par in 2005. Campbell has largely been forgotten—he’s a member of golf’s one-hit wonder club, and you can barely find a mention of him at the club—but the previous Pinehurst champion in 1999, Payne Stewart, has become an important part of the resort’s identity. Less than six months after he won the event, he died in a plane crash, and he’s honored today with a large statue outside the clubhouse that captures the moment when he sunk the winning putt on 18 to beat Phil Mickelson—clad in his famous knickers and tam-o’-shanter cap, right foot off the ground, fist extended in triumph. … Continue Reading

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New Pinehurst documentary set to debut Thursday

“Pinehurst’s New Golden Age: No. 2 and the Championships,” a new documentary produced by TenMayflower Productions, will debut at 10 p.m. Thursday on UNC-TV. 

Featuring archival, never-before-seen photography and footage, the documentary traces one of the most significant periods in Pinehurst’s storied championship history, including the transcendent U.S. Open championships in 1999 and 2005.

The hour-long program is also the definitive recap of the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst, the first two major championships to be conducted in consecutive weeks at the same site in the history of golf.

The feature provides unprecedented insight into the magic of Pinehurst through the eyes of historians, journalists, USGA officials, broadcasters, some of the biggest names in golf.

2014 U.S. Open champions Martin Kaymer and Michelle Wie recount their triumphs on Pinehurst No. 2 while such notables as Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Curtis Strange, Michael Campbell and others add a unique perspective into their own successes at Pinehurst.

The documentary also details the 2010 restoration of Donald Ross’s famed championship course. Bill Coore and Crenshaw recall the momentous decision to return No. 2 to its 1940s-era roots in setting the stage for the triumphant 2014 U.S. Opens and a new philosophy in golf course management.

For more information, go to Purchase a DVD of “Pinehurst’s New Golden Age: No. 2 and the Championships” from any of our retail outlets or online at

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We need your help – Please vote for Clarkie

Today and for the next few days, we are outright asking you for your help. And it’s for our friend Clarkie Carroll, a tremendous 12-year-old boy who fought like crazy to beat cancer last year.

What are we doing? We’re trying to win him a round of golf with Tom Watson and Zach Johnson, but we need you to get him there.

Via Golf Channel or social media, you may have seen something about the Transamerica Trick Shot contest (check the video above). We’re hoping you will participate in the voting for a winner in this contest, because Pinehurst has nominated our good friend, Clarkie Carroll.

Again, the winner of this contest will get to play golf with the likes of Tom Watson, Zach Johnson and Kyle Stanley. You can vote directly for Clarkie’s video here. Please do. If anybody deserves such a special day, it’s Clarkie, a quiet little boy who never asks for anything extra.

A little more about this incredibly special kid:

Clarkie has battled a rare bone cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. He had half of his right femur removed (that’s where the tumor was), which was replaced by a titanium prosthesis. This resulted in his right leg being a few inches longer than his left.

Clarkie, clearly, loves golf (lacrosse, too), and he performed this trick shot at another Donald Ross course, at Glen Falls Country Club in New York. Clarkie’s grandparents, Tom and Joan Moynihan, live at Pinehurst No. 7.

He also did it after just completing 10 months of chemotherapy.

We’ll pause to let that sink in.

Clarkie’s doing well today, but he’ll be scanned quarterly for the next 5 years. He’s one tough – and talented – little kid.

His dad, Dave, put Clarkie’s toughness into words for us:

“10 months of chemo.

17 Rounds.

54 Treatments.

Zero Complaints.”

To which, we’ll add…

One GREAT golf swing.

Yes, there are some other fantastic trick shots submitted to this contest.

But Clarkie has our vote. We hope he has yours as well.

-Alex Podlogar

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The Tale of John Derr, Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe

John Derr at home in his element - from a TV tower broadcasting golf for CBS.

John Derr at home in his element – from a TV tower broadcasting golf for CBS.

John Derr’s stories filled three books. This story, though, is one of the best.

Derr many times recounted his friendship with the great Joe DiMaggio, who would often sit with Derr atop the CBS Sports tower 20 feet above the 15th green of Augusta National during The Masters.

Why in the tower? Because, as the Yankee Clipper would say, “Not many people ask you for interviews when you’re 20 feet in the air.”

Anyway, as Derr would tell it, even during a broadcast, he and Joe would get a lot of time in between action to chat. And during DiMaggio’s relationship with Marilyn Monroe, Derr, of course, couldn’t help but ask about how things were going between the two popular icons.

“Fine, fine,” the terse DiMaggio would often reply. But one day, Joe cracked the facade a little bit.

“John, it’s just all this attention,” Derr would recall DiMaggio saying. “All these reporters. And Hollywood. Marilyn just feels like she has to always be ‘ON.’ Just ‘ON.’ Sometimes, it’s hard for her to just be herself.”

Derr opined it might be good for them to get away from the bright lights. A week to themselves. Derr had a place in the northeast. Joe and Marilyn could go there, where no one would expect them, and could have all that time just to themselves. Derr and his wife wouldn’t be using the place. Just Joe and Marilyn.

“John, I’d like that. I’d really like that,” Derr remembered DiMaggio saying.

After The Masters, Derr went and made all of the arrangements. A date was set, and DiMaggio said they’d be on their way. A quiet bungalow tucked away where Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe could get away and rekindle the magic that had brought them together.

Not long after, Derr asked Joe how it went.

“Didn’t make it, John,” Derr remembered. “She just couldn’t let herself go.”

It was a sad tale, really. But Derr only paused a weighty second when telling the story.

“That close,” Derr would then say. “I was THAT close to being able to say I had Marilyn Monroe in my bed.”


Thanks, John. We’ll miss you.

-Alex Podlogar

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John Derr – An Extraordinary Life


John Derr was sitting in the west wing of The Carolina Hotel lobby one afternoon in December 2009 doing what he did best — telling stories. What Ben Hogan was with a 5-iron and putter, Derr was with a narrative and punch line.

“He loved entertaining people,” longtime friend Tom Stewart once observed. “He was maybe the best storyteller I’ve ever known. I never heard him repeat himself. He always had something new to give.”

From his beginnings as a teenage sports, police and obituary  reporter at the Gastonia Gazette to 62 years covering the Masters Tournament — many of them from the CBS radio and television tower above the 15th green — Derr had seen everything and met everyone. Or so it seemed.

And as he recounted having walked Pinehurst No. 2 with architect Donald Ross back in the 1930s and of having covered Hogan’s milestone win in the 1940 North and South Open at Pinehurst, it occurred to me there was surely not another soul on the planet as the 21st century was nearly a decade old whose reach into golf history hit those particular high notes.

John Derr at home in his element - from a TV tower broadcasting golf for CBS.

John Derr at home in his element – from a TV tower broadcasting golf for CBS.

His after-dinner talks included anecdotes ranging from golfers including Bob Jones and Sam Snead … to broadcasting luminaries like Red Barber and Edward R. Murrow … to film stars like Grace Kelly … to royalty such as the Duke of Windsor … to scientists like Albert Einstein. Mostly what people enjoyed hearing were his experiences at Augusta.

“I was fortunate to be there, seeing the action, and it was my pleasure to try to let others share my joy through my description,” Derr said. “I was heard by many, but I always tried to put myself in the position of being a reporter for a ‘shut-in’ who could not be there in person. I was telling him or her what was happening — speaking to that one person.”

Sadly one of the icons of the golf broadcasting and journalism worlds passed away Saturday evening. Derr was 97 when he died of an apparent heart attack at his home in Pinehurst. … Continue Reading

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