Pinehurst Heritage Archive

Phil in ’14? Is Mickelson the favorite to win at Pinehurst? Crenshaw, Pelz weigh in

Phil in '14?

Phil in ’14?

Three Down, One To Go For Mickelson

By LEE PACE

Ben Crenshaw was among the millions captivated by the drama, entertainment and sheer wonder of what was unfolding on his television set early the afternoon on July 21, 2013. Six time zones away on the east coast of Scotland, Phil Mickelson marched the ancient, crusty links at Muirfield Golf Club in five-under 66 to storm from five shots behind and win the British Open going away.

Crenshaw has made golf history himself—winning two Masters and 19 PGA Tour events—and been involved from the periphery in another major story as well, captaining the United States team to victory in the 1999 Ryder Cup Match at Brookline. But watching from his home in Austin, Texas, Crenshaw was sucked into the vortex of the afternoon’s significance.

“Gosh, what a great performance,” Crenshaw says. “It was unbelievable. It was fascinating to watch. Phil made the right decisions and he played very aggressively. That second shot on 17 was one for the ages. He had confidence in that club, essentially it was a brassie, and struck it really well. It hit on the downslope and, man alive, what a great bounce, right to the middle of the green. Then he hit two beautiful shots on 18. He did so many good things. It was a special week for Phil, no question.”

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The Great What-If: Phil Mickelson and the 1999 U.S. Open (with Video)

 

BY LEE PACE

It was golf theatre unlike anything the grand old course had ever seen, the roars funneling through the pine trees and engulfing the memory of polite applause from the villagers and resort guests when Hogan and Snead, Ward and Patton, Nicklaus and Palmer had passed through earlier in the century.

Payne Stewart stuck his 6-iron tee shot to 4 feet on the par-3 17th hole in the final round of the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2. Phil Mickelson didn’t flinch, firing his 7-iron to 6 feet. Mike Hicks, Stewart’s caddie, says he’d never heard the kind of noise he heard on 17 that day—“And I’ve worked several Ryder Cups.” NBC’s Roger Maltbie observed on-air, “It’s getting kinda wild out here.” Tiger Woods had to wait to hit his approach on 18 until the applause for Stewart and Mickelson subsided.

“At first I thought I was in a small earthquake,” says Ron Crow, a volunteer scorer who walked with the final pairing on that gray, drizzly afternoon. “The ground shook some because of the reception the gallery gave those two players.”

Stewart had just rammed home a monster putt on the 16th green, an improbable, double-breaking downhiller from 25 feet to protect his tie atop the leaderboard with Mickelson. Stewart and Hicks began surveying Stewart’s putt, and Mickelson and his caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay, began analyzing Mickelson’s putt.

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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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Why Pinehurst in 2014?

 

Why Pinehurst in 2014? Why does the USGA feel like Pinehurst is the ideal setting to stage unprecedented back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014?

It’s a question many asked when the initial announcement was made. It’s a question that continues to persist.

So over the course of the last year, we’ve asked some of the game’s best players a simple question:

Why Pinehurst?

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Pinehurst No. 2 – A Timeline of Greatness

CELEBRATING OVER 100 YEARS OF PINEHURST NO. 2

In 2007, Pinehurst Resort celebrated the Centennial of its most famed golf course, Pinehurst No. 2.  Site of more individual amateur and championship events, its history marks the story of the game itself – from early agronomy and course architecture, to the making of legends.  We invite you to share in its rich heritage.

Historic Timeline

A sand green on an early photo of Pinehurst No. 2. Photo courtesy of the Tufts Archives.

A sand green on an early photo of Pinehurst No. 2. Photo courtesy of the Tufts Archives

1907:    Pinehurst No. 2 opens as an 18-hole course for the fall season.  Total yardage:  5,860.

The Pinehurst Outlook  reports in 1907 “Pinehurst is now watched by the entire world in the affairs of golf, for it sets the fashion in this particular just as Paris is the center to which the world of fashion looks expectantly spring, summer, fall and winter.”

Donald Ross, course architect, incorporates such elements as 60 ft. square sand/clay greens, “whisker” mounds of native wire grass, cross hazards, and sand bunkers in front of the greens.

1908:    Walter Travis plays Pinehurst No. 2 in October and tells the local newspaper, “I know of no course, north or south, which provides a more thorough test or better golf, and none which gives such diversity.”

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