Pinehurst Heritage Archive

Simon Hobday, the 1994 U.S. Senior Open Champion at Pinehurst, has passed away

Simon Hobday as seen with the trophy after winning the 1994 U.S. Senior Open Championship at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina.(Copyright USGA/Robert Walker)

We at Pinehurst are saddened to hear of the passing of Simon Hobday. His grit and determination in winning the 1994 U.S. Senior Open was a performance that stands with the best in the history of Pinehurst and Pinehurst No. 2. We extend our sincerest condolences to the Hobday family.

Hobday’s victory at Pinehurst was a wonderful moment, and he topped a leaderboard that included the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Weiskopf, Lee Trevino and Raymond Floyd, all of whom finished among the top 13 in the championship.

Hobday, too, was one of golf’s greatest characters. The tributes on social media have been great fun to read today and allow us to remember a great champion at Pinehurst with a laugh and smile.

Here is a sampling of those tributes:

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Pinehurst legend Willie McRae enshrined in Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame

Legendary Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae was enshrined in the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame over the weekend, celebrating McRae’s rich life and over seven decades of caddying in Pinehurst.

With more than 40 friends and family looking on, McRae spoke at the CGA’s Annual Meeting, regaling the audience and those around him that evening with several of the stories that have made McRae one of Pinehurst’s lasting figures. The CGA also produced the video above, featuring some of Willie’s best stories while noting his historic legacy at Pinehurst.

McRae’s legendary time at Pinehurst traces much of the area’s rise in the annals of American golf. He has caddied for five presidents, for celebrities from Mickey Mantle to Michael Jordan and many of golf’s greatest figures, including Donald Ross, Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen and Sam Snead.

“I’ve always been thankful to be able to work at a place like Pinehurst,” McRae said. “Everybody’s always been so nice to me. They’ve always made me think I was the important person.”

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Willie McRae is pictured with his CGA Hall of Fame plaque. McRae’s image will be placed with all of the members on the CGA Hall of Fame Wall in The Carolina Hotel. (photo courtesy of the CGA.)

McRae is one of just two living participants of the 1951 Ryder Cup, which was contested at Pinehurst. He has caddied in several of golf’s greatest championships, ranging from the Ryder Cup to multiple U.S. Opens and U.S Women’s Opens. A great player in his own time, in the 1950s the U.S. Army stationed McRae at Fort Dix instead of shipping him overseas, installing him as the captain of the golf team.

“Willie always says that everybody is somebody, that everyone has a right to be treated well,” said Pinehurst President Tom Pashley. “But what we all know is that Willie has always been one of the most important people at Pinehurst.”

“It’s a very proud moment for the Carolinas Golf Association,” said G. Jackson Hughes Jr., the chairman of the CGA Hall of Fame selection committee. “Willie McRae has meant so much to so many people for so many years here at Pinehurst. It’s a well-deserved award.”

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Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae speaks at the induction ceremony of the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of the CGA).

“It’s nice to know that with his enshrinement into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame, Willie’s picture will be on the Hall of Fame wall in The Carolina Hotel forever,” Pashley said. “To know that his family will always be able to walk by that photo and see how much Willie has meant to the game of golf is really special.”

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Feeling OK about a Pinehurst “collapse”

Jason Gore may have collapsed in the final round of the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, but it doesn’t erase all of the great memories

After the New England Patriots’ monumental comeback to win Super Bowl LI to beat an Atlanta Falcons team that led 28-3 at one point, much of Monday has been spent recalling the worst “collapses” in sports history.

One that has been mentioned often involves golf – Greg Norman’s final round of the 1996 Masters. Another in golf, though, might come from the 2005 U.S. Open. Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and overnight sensation Jason Gore were in the championship’s final pairing that fateful Sunday, but each fell off the leaderboard faster than anyone could have possibly anticipated.

Before the 2014 U.S. Opens at Pinehurst, though, Gore returned to No. 2 for the first time since that Sunday round, a round in which he shot 84 to freefall from a chance at winning the U.S. Open to a tie for 49th.

But here’s the thing – Gore still humbly recalls with great feeling the overwhelming support he felt from Pinehurst and the fans here at the Open. And he credits that week – and that day specifically – with helping him forge a fruitful career in professional golf. The video above is long – it’s nearly 6 minutes – but his emotion is ever-present, and his story about making the final putt on 18 to close Saturday’s third round will give any golf fan goosebumps, especially those who were in the grandstand that day.

Jason Gore may have collapsed in shocking fashion the next day. But it was also a moment that helped him in every way in every day thereafter.

Not a bad perspective.

 

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Bones’ greatest regret? His read on the 17th at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999

Jim “Bones” Mackay, in all the years and tournaments and major championships caddying for Phil Mickelson, has one single regret – and it comes from Pinehurst.

In the latest edition of No Laying Up’s tremendous series of podcasts, when Chris Solomon asks Bones whether he has any regrets, Bones doesn’t hesitate.

“Definitely – ’99 U.S. Open against Payne Stewart.”

Beginning at around 42 minutes, 15 seconds above, Bones reflects on Payne Stewart’s incredible birdie putt to save par on 16, and the remarkable tee shots both Payne and Lefty hit on 17.

But Lefty’s birdie try slid right and missed, and after Stewart’s birdie on 17, the one-stroke lead Payne took to 18 proved fateful. (You can see all of that in the video below).

Bones says he misread Lefty’s birdie attempt.

“I thought it was a straight putt,” Bones says.

“It was such an amazing day at that golf course. Such a great golf course and we started having this really awesome weather. It started misting. It was almost like they were playing in Scotland.” -Jim “Bones” Mackay, Phil Mickelson’s caddie

“There’s no question, by 100 miles, if I could change one thing over the course of my caddie career, in terms of input that I gave Phil, it would be that.”

Still, Bones recalls the day fondly, and the duel between Mickelson and Stewart.

“It was such an amazing day at that golf course. Such a great golf course and we started having this really awesome weather. It started misting. It was almost like they were playing in Scotland.”

If you love golf, the entire podcast is worth a listen. Don’t miss No Laying Up’s extremely candid conversations with Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth, either. 

And, of course, @NoLayingUp is one of Twitter’s best follows.

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A Merry Vintage Christmas from Pinehurst

It’s always fun sifting through vintage photos, but it’s even better when they include memories from Christmas past. 

Most of these images were shot at the Carolina Hotel during the 1940s, proving the holiday season was just as special then as it is now.

Enjoy this look back.

Photos copyright Tufts Archives

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