Pinehurst Heritage Archive

The Man Behind the Payne Stewart Statue

Payne Stewart statue at dusk

A few months ago, there was a terrific feature by Golf Digest’s John Strege on Zenos Frudakis.

Not sure who Zenos Frudakis is? Here, let Strege explain:

It is the bane of the successful contemporary artist that his work is usually better known than his name. In this case, his name is Zenos Frudakis. Ever heard of him?

Yet even the casual golf fan is likely familiar with the sculpture of a celebratory Payne Stewart, one leg in the air, his right fist piercing the sky, on display near the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2 where Stewart struck this pose as he won the U.S. Open in 1999.

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There is a lot of great stuff in the piece. Among the best:

“We’re not going to forget these people and what they accomplished and meant to us,” Frudakis said. “Bronze helps us do that because it endures. That’s the reason the Egyptians made sculpture.”

In 2001, Zenos Frudakis poses with Payne Stewart’s family at the dedication of the statue behind the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2.

Frudakis can hold his own with anyone in golf:

“Do you golf?” Nicklaus asked him while posing in his home adjacent to Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

“No,” Frudakis replied.

“That’s all right, that’s all right,” Nicklaus said.

“Do you sculpt?” he asked Nicklaus.

“No,” Nicklaus replied.

“That’s all right, that’s all right,” Frudakis said, apparently with glee.

There may never be a better one of these (and we should know). Daughter Chelsea posing at her dad’s statue. #bestever #Pinehurst

A photo posted by Pinehurst Resort (@pinehurstresort) on

The Legacy:

Soon after Payne Stewart died in a freak airplane mishap in October of ’99, Frudakis was commissioned by Pinehurst Resort to capture that iconic moment when the winning putt dropped. He recalls traveling to Pinehurst and encountering a despondent Stewart family. “I remember I went into the golf shop and his son [Aaron] was sitting on the floor in a corner by himself, looking very sad,” he said. “His widow [Tracey] looked devastated.”

“It’s extremely gratifying for me, to see people take the pose, especially to see his daughter do it.” – Zenos Frudakis

The sculpture he produced was unveiled in 2001, but its impact was not fully realized until the U.S. Open there in 2014. By then it had become a popular landmark at Pinehurst, when hordes of fans were photographed striking a similar pose alongside the Stewart statue, including Stewart’s daughter Chelsea. “The coolest statue photo you’ll see this week,” the PGA Tour called it on Instagram.

“It’s extremely gratifying for me, to see people take the pose, especially to see his daughter do it,” Frudakis said, “to see them interact with the piece, to see [Chelsea] laughing, smiling.

“It’s his moment of victory. It was exciting. With Payne Stewart at the peak of his career, this was his Icarus moment, to have fallen so tragically from such a high place. I think for a lot of people there is some healing for having the sculpture. The sense with bronze is that people have wanted to make something that will last because we don’t.”

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Alberta Travis – In Your Words

It was only a short while ago we posted our story about the incomparable Alberta Travis, who the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association will recognize for her accomplishments when she is honored as the 2016 Front Line Employee of the Year.

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Immediately, there was an outpouring of praise and support from many of you, those who are past guests of Pinehurst, but also from Alberta’s friends, family and co-workers. It is clearly apparent the impact Alberta has made not only on our guests over the years, but for everyone who comes in even a short moment’s contact with her.

Please take a second to read what others have said about one very special person:

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You’re right, Jeff. We are very blessed.

Congratulations, Alberta, from all of us.

*Please feel free to add your congratulations and notes to Alberta in the comments below.

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A Life Lesson from Donald Ross

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Old Tom Morris was against gambling in golf and advised Donald Ross to never bet on the golf course beyond a small wager. “Why make a horse race out of a game like golf?” Morris posited. Ross took Old Tom’s words to heart and for the rest of his life rarely played for stakes beyond a quarter Nassau. Ross said that Calcutta pools “don’t belong in such a fine, clean game.”

Once at Pinehurst, a young man who didn’t know Ross asked him for a game and a $25 Nassau.

“Let’s just play for the fun of the game,” Ross countered.

The young man insisted, so Ross relented, played the visitor and beat him soundly.

“I built the course,” Ross told his opponent. “Let this be a lesson to you: Don’t play for high stakes with a stranger.”

-Lee Pace

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Restoring Pinehurst’s History Hallway

The Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella has always been kind to us. (Thanks, Matt.) And usually, when he discusses the merits of Pinehurst, he never fails to mention at least three things:

  1. The Golf
  2. The Best Breakfast in Golf
  3. The Pinehurst Clubhouse History Hall

Matt typically advises Pinehurst guests to spend as much time as possible in our history hall, to take in the memorabilia in our cases and the photos on the walls.

Over the past few weeks, though, we’ve taken a few minor steps in what we hope will be an improved experience with those photos. With the help of the wonderful Tufts Archives, we’ve restored many of the photos, which had been damaged over time.

Also, we’ve updated the framing and matting, and in what may be our favorite part, added contextual captions with each photo. Most of these captions go into further detail about every photo – you already know the where; here, we add the who, the what and the why. (You can see examples of the work in the video above. Also, a note: Be sure to have the sound up while playing the video. It’s worth it.)

We have a few further plans that we are kicking around to continue to update the hallway. But it is our hope that on your next visit to Pinehurst, you’ll need an extra few minutes to get through the hall.

And for our frequent guests and members, here’s hoping you enjoy a few of the new photos we’ve put up – photos that have never been on the clubhouse walls until now.

Special thanks, as well, to framer Tony Hill and photographer John Gessner.

As for what the photos used to look like, well, here:

50 Arnold Palmer & Harvie Ward 1948 (1200x800)

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We miss you, Payne


October 25th marked the 16th anniversary of the tragic passing of Payne Stewart.

We still miss him. Always will.

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