Pinehurst Heritage Archive

The History of Pinehurst’s Iconic Putter Boy

Photo by USGA's John Mummert

Photo by USGA’s John Mummert

BY LEE PACE

They’ve stood sentinel over the practice putting greens at Pinehurst for decades. They’ve traveled the world on the shirts and caps of golfers. They’ve lured guests to Pinehurst from the pages of newspapers and magazines for a century. And they’ve been the centerpieces of handsome marks for Pinehurst’s chapters in the U.S. Open.

“The Golf Lad” and his offspring pal, “The Putter Boy,” are certainly among the most famous inanimate figures in the game of golf.

Frank Presbrey, Pinehurst’s first advertising counselor, in the early 1900s created a young boy that appeared in the resort’s early advertising and calendars who was called “The Golf Lad,” “The Golf Boy,” or “The Golf Calendar Lad.” Later he was replaced on the calendars sent annually to hotel guests by photos of Donald Ross playing the Pinehurst golf courses.

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ESPN Video: The McRaes – Pinehurst’s First Family

ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi brings us the story of Pinehurst’s First Family.

No, not the Tufts.

The McRaes.

If you cannot view the video, click here.

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Pinehurst’s U.S. Open Champions had much in common

PayneMichael

Payne Stewart’s and Michael Campbell’s journeys to their respective U.S. Open Championships at Pinehurst were similar in many ways

BY LEE PACE

Sadly neither of Pinehurst’s U.S. Open champions will grace the fairways of No. 2 on June 12 when the 2014 championship begins. Payne Stewart lost his life in an airplane mishap only three months after winning the 1999 Open, and Michael Campbell’s game peaked with his triumph in June 2005 and he recently announced that injuries and personal troubles would prevent his entry this year.

But for one week in the American national championship, they were the very best in the business, this Missourian with the plus-fours and graceful swing and this gritty New Zealander with steel nerves over a 4-iron and razor-sharp putter.

Each had paid his dues in professional golf by the time the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens came to Pinehurst No. 2. Stewart was 42 with eleven PGA Tour wins, Campbell was 36 with six victories on the European Tour. Both were married and the father of two children.

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VIDEO: 9 Years Later, Emotional Jason Gore Returns to Pinehurst

When Jason Gore arrived at Pinehurst for the 2005 U.S. Open, he didn’t know how long he could continue to pay his mortgage.

A week later, he left as a cult hero.

For the first time since his Tin Cup hopes of winning the 2005 U.S. Open were dashed with a heartbreaking 84 in the final round on Sunday, Jason Gore stepped to the first tee of Pinehurst No. 2 on Monday. His emotions of the moment are clear in the interview above.

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Michael Campbell will not return to Pinehurst

2005 Golf: 105 US Open - Final Round

Michael Campbell kisses the trophy after winning 105th US Open finishing even par and two strokes ahead of Tiger Woods. (Photo By Bob Donnan)

Michael Campbell, who stunned the world when he emerged from sectional qualifying to hold off a furious charge by Tiger Woods and win the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, will not return to No. 2 to defend his title in June.

The news was first reported by The Raleigh News and Observer’s Luke DeCock.

Campbell, who has battled significant ankle problems, revealed on his website, cambogolf.com, that personal problems will also keep him from the golf course:

I have had some problems with a tendon in my left ankle that stopped me from playing for 2 to 3 months. The good news is that I am back swinging and now managing to play 18 holes.
On a personal note, I have some sad news. Unfortunately Julie and I have separated. Our children remain our number one focus as we move forwards – as parents first and foremost while remaining both friends and business partners.
As I do not feel that I am either fully physically or mentally ready to play tournament golf at the highest level, after much deliberation, I have decided not to play in the BMW PGA Championship, the US Open or the events in between. I want to get back to my best and I believe this is the best strategy to achieve this.

 

2005 Golf: 105 US Open, Final Round

Michael Campbell reacts after winning the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. (Photo By Bob Donnan)

Campbell shocked everyone when he broke through at Pinehurst.

Casual fans outside the ropes and in the grandstands may have hoped for a different outcome at the time – and may still. It’s likely they felt Campbell had come out of nowhere. If it couldn’t have been Tiger, at least it might’ve been Retief Goosen, who seemed destined following Saturday’s third round to enjoy a coronation walk to his third U.S. Open championship.

Or perhaps Jason Gore, Tin Cup in the flesh, would prevail.

Alas, it was Campbell, some may have thought. Never mind the Kiwi had already won six times in his career on the European Tour, contended 10 years earlier in the British Open and later in 2005 would win the HSBC World Match Play Championship, a tournament Ernie Els has won three times since 2003, and credits Graeme McDowell, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey among its champions.

But Campbell’s career has indeed slumped since ’05, despite flickers of a resurgence with two Top 10s and two other Top 25s in 2013.

Still, Campbell has played in every U.S. Open since, albeit only making the cut in 2007. At Merion a year ago, he was eagerly anticipating a return to the site of the greatest week of his career. (Our interview with Campbell is below.)

“It changed my world (winning at Pinehurst) – for the good, of course,” he told us. “Next year, for me, personally, will be a huge week. I’m looking forward to it.”

 

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