While the passage of time has confirmed James Walker Tufts’ vision of Pinehurst as a sanctuary for all seasons, the Cradle of American Golf does occasionally experience the rare snowfall. Like most Carolina snows, though, you must enjoy the fleeting beauty of white-capped Pinehurst in the moment, for rising temperatures are always quickly on the horizon.
When the King speaks, golf fans tend to stop and listen.
In advance of the 2007 celebration surrounding the centennial of Pinehurst No. 2, Arnold Palmer visited the area he so often enjoyed in his youth with his father, and took a few minutes to chat about his own special history at Pinehurst and on No. 2.
The King’s comments were captured on video, and have been rarely seen or heard.
Palmer has a perspective on Pinehurst like few alive today. Not only is he one of the greatest and most important players in the game’s long history, Palmer’s fascination with Pinehurst is intertwined with the memory of his father Deacon, who visited Pinehurst often in the 1930s and 1940s. Arnold would occasionally join him and eventually enroll at Wake Forest College in the late 1940s, winning the Southern Conference Championship on Pinehurst No. 2 in dramatic fashion over Harvie Ward.
He recounts those memories here.
Stunningly, that college championship was The King’s only victory in Pinehurst. Palmer never advanced past the semifinals of the North and South Amateur, even losing 12 & 11 to Frank Stranahan in the 1949 event. He also missed the cut at the World Open in 1974 only days after being enshrined in the Golf Hall of Fame, then missed the cut again in 1975.
But those misfires never dampened Palmer’s love for Pinehurst and its most celebrated golf course.
“I have great memories of visiting Pinehurst in the old days,” he said in 1994. “For a kid from Latrobe to visit the golf capital of the world was a special treat.”
Not that 1975 was a season to overlook in the Nicklaus canon. It proved to be one of his best, and Pinehurst capped it. He won five times and was named the PGA Player of the Year for the fourth time. Two of those victories were in major championships, including The Masters (his fifth) and the PGA Championship (his fourth), which came a mere 31 days before the start of the ’75 World Open.
Jack Nicklaus is forever adorned in Pinehurst after winning the 1959 North and South Amateur.
But Nicklaus had won in Pinehurst long before he toured Pinehurst No. 2 in 4-under 280 in September 1975. Just a few weeks before he made his signature splash on the golf scene with a victory in the 1959 U.S. Amateur, Nicklaus captured the 1959 North and South Amateur at Pinehurst, clipping Gene Andrews 1-up.