Pinehurst Heritage Archive

The North and South Open: ‘The Masters before there was a Masters’

Pinehurst No. 2

Pinehurst No. 2

The Late, Lamented North and South Open

BY LEE PACE

Earlier in the week we wondered how The Masters and Augusta National might have evolved and look today had Bobby Jones actually hired Donald Ross, as he initially planned to do, instead of Alister MacKenzie to design his new golf course on the outskirts of Augusta.

Continuing these Masters week “what if” scenarios, it’s an interesting exercise to wonder what the PGA Tour might look like today had Pinehurst’s Richard Tufts not decided in 1952 to eliminate the half-century long tradition of one of the day’s premier events, the North and South Open.

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Augusta and Pinehurst – What might have been

Pinehurst No. 2 and Augusta National

Pinehurst No. 2 and Augusta National

A shocking upset of the world’s best player may have changed the course of golf history

BY LEE PACE

Pinehurst and Augusta National each have lofty and secure niches in the game of golf. Pinehurst was America’s first true golf destination and its venerable No. 2 course as of 2014 will have been the battle ground for three U.S. Opens, one U.S. Women’s Open, one PGA Championship, one Ryder Cup Match and two U.S. Amateurs. And Augusta National is the home of the golf tournament that each April generates more goose pimples, gallery decibels and history fodder than any other venue in the game.

But it’s entertaining as The Masters Tournament rolls around each April to wonder just what Augusta and Pinehurst might look like today had the great Bobby Jones not inexplicably lost his first round match of the 1929 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach to an obscure player by the name of Johnny Goodman.

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[VIDEO] Curtis Strange talks Pinehurst No. 2, previews 2014 U.S. Opens

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about Pinehurst.

The two-time U.S. Open champion knows a little something about Open venues as well.

So when Strange got his first look at the Pinehurst No. 2 restoration during the recent Liberty Mutual Invitational, the man who won two North and South Amateur titles while starring at Wake Forest in the mid-1970s could easily envision how the course and the championship would mesh together.

Few, in fact, could do it better.

And Curtis Strange liked what he saw.

“When I first see this, it takes me back to the 70s to my old North and South days, because it’s very similar to the way it used to be,” Strange said.

Strange is also a fan of one of the most significant changes to the USGA’s U.S. Open preparation of No. 2 – the switching of the fourth hole to a long par-4 and the fifth to a daunting par-5, complete with new back tee boxes.

“You know, the back tee, it looks pretty doggone good. I like it. I really do,” Strange said.

Pinehurst is a special place for the World Golf Hall of Famer. Strange won the prestigious North and South Amateur in 1975 and 1976 and earned his PGA Tour card in 1977 after qualifying on No. 2. Strange went on to win 17 times on Tour, including the 1988 and ’89 U.S. Opens, becoming the first man since Ben Hogan to win back-to-back Opens.

“It’s golf,” Strange said of Pinehurst. “If I had six days before the Good Lord took me, I’d want to come here and play golf.”

*Curtis Strange appeared at Pinehurst on behalf of Liberty Mutual Insurance.

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Pinehurst Restored – First No. 2, now Donald Ross himself

Art Conservator Shane Bufmeyer (right) and an assistant remove the Donald Ross portrait from Pinehurst's Resort Club on Thursday. The portrait will be restored this month.

Art Conservator Shane Bufmeyer (right) and an assistant remove the Donald Ross portrait from Pinehurst’s Resort Club on Thursday. The portrait will be restored this month.

Donald Ross’ famed Pinehurst No. 2 got its restoration a couple of years ago.

It’s his turn this time.

You see Ross’ touches everywhere at Pinehurst. There’s even the restaurant at Pinehurst Resort that bears his name – the Donald Ross Grill. (Fun Fact: In addition to golf course designer and head professional, Donald Ross also served as Grill Manager during part of his tenure at Pinehurst. Multitasker.)

And typically, he’s watching over you in a close-to-lifesize portrait.

But for the next few weeks you may notice something different about the Grill.

A blank space remains for the time being at Pinehurst's Donald Ross Grill while the portrait of the famed golf course architect is restored this month.

A blank space remains for the time being at Pinehurst’s Donald Ross Grill while the portrait of the famed golf course architect is restored this month.

You know, like that 4×6-foot blank space on the wall.

The 1971 Anthony F. Weddington portrait of the legendary golf course architect is in the careful hands of art conservator Shane Bufmeyer for the next few weeks, getting some much-needed R & R – Retouching & Restoration.

“It’s not in terrible shape – there are no tears and it’s not like the canvas has big holes in it,” Bufmeyer says of the portrait, “but it does have some water damage and needs work.

“It’s just time for a facelift.”

As Bufmeyer and an assistant removed the portrait from the Grill on Thursday, long water marks streaming down the length of the canvas became visible in the sunlight. “Apparently there was a planter above it – above the lamp – once upon a time,” says Bufmeyer, whose grandfather taught him the trade. “There’s clearly evidence of that.”

Just how much work needs to be done on the portrait remains to be seen until Bufmeyer can get it into his shop.

“All of these projects are the same, but all of them are different, too,” he says. “There are certain things we have to do with every work like this, but you do have to play detective.”

The Donald Ross portrait that adorns the wall of the Pinehurst restaurant that bears his name is removed for restoration.

The Donald Ross portrait that adorns the wall of the Pinehurst restaurant that bears his name is removed for restoration.

That means varying degrees of cleaning, of retouching, or, if needed, the relining of original brushstrokes, and adding varnish. The project may take two weeks, or it may take four, depending on the amount of restoration is needed.

Fear not, however. Mr. Ross is in careful hands.

“A piece this large and this important, I’ll close down my shop for the next few weeks,” Bufmeyer says. “I don’t want anything else coming in while I focus on this piece.”

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The Carolina Hotel at Pinehurst [VIDEO]

Some say you can feel the spirit of Pinehurst as you turn onto Carolina Vista, the tree-lined avenue that leads to The Carolina Hotel.

This majestic century-old hotel with its signature copper cupola and sweeping verandas make you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time to an era when elegance defined grand hotels and resorts. Dubbed the “Queen of the South,” the Carolina has 230 Four-Diamond guest rooms including suites.

Book your accommodations at Pinehurst Resort today!

RELATED: Pinehurst Resort’s Holly Inn.

The Golf Channel’s Matt Ginella raves about The Carolina Hotel’s famed breakfast buffet – and Pinehurst No. 2

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