Pinehurst Heritage Archive

Paying tribute to Ben Hogan

On March 21, 1940, it finally happened.

Ben Hogan won.

The story has become the stuff of Pinehurst lore and legend. Hogan had toiled on the PGA Tour for seven years without a victory. He was close to calling the pro game quits and retiring back to Texas to become a club pro. His car rolled into Pinehurst for the 1940 North & South Open on four bald tires.

But Hogan opened with a first-round 66 on Pinehurst No. 2 and followed with a 67 in the next round, building a 7-shot lead. His 74 and 70 in the 36-hole finale on March 21 weren’t spectacular, but they still held off Snead by three shots. Hogan, finally – FINALLY –  was a winner.

The rest, as the cliche goes, is history.

Pinehurst No. 2's starters are donning Hogan-styled caps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Ben Hogan's first professional victory in the 9140 North & South Open at Pinehurst.

Pinehurst No. 2’s starters are donning Hogan-styled caps to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Ben Hogan’s first professional victory in the 1940 North & South Open at Pinehurst.

History is something we cherish at Pinehurst. And beginning this week, 75 years after Hogan finally broke through on No. 2, we are paying tribute to The Hawk. This Spring, the starters at Pinehurst No. 2 will greet players while donning Hogan-styled caps. As part of their regular welcome to the first tee, they will recount the story above before players walk into Hogan’s own footsteps – the footsteps that after Pinehurst, led to nine major championships and 68 other professional victories.

 

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5 Favorite Donald Ross Quotes

Donald Ross tees off during one of his many golf outings.

Donald Ross, the famed architect who designed Pinehurst No. 2, often shunned the limelight, but his wisdom still made it into the history books.

Here are 5 of our favorite Ross quotes:

  • “I believe wholeheartedly in golf. I consider it a game of honor. It does more to bring out the finer points in a man’s character than any other sport.”
  • “If you want to know a man, take him out on the golf course.”
  • “Pinehurst absolutely was the pioneer in American golf. While golf had been played in a few places before Pinehurst was established, it was right here in these sandhills that the first great national movement in golf was started. Men came here, took a few golf lessons, bought a few clubs and went away determined to organize clubs.”
  • “A country which gets golf-minded need not worry about the honor, the integrity and the honesty of its people.”
  • “Every golfer is on his honor. As long as we keep golf a game of honor, we’re on the right road.”

Allow us to add one more, as a bonus:

  • “My friends laughed at me,” Ross said in 1930. “They said it was folly to try to make a winter golf colony down in the jack pines and sand of Carolina.”

Read more about Ross at PinehurstStories.com. (Note: You don’t want to miss the “A Life Lesson” story.)

 

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Pinehurst’s Presidential Visits

GeraldFordwithGolfGreats

Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and President Gerald Ford played golf during the World Golf Hall of Fame Tournament on Sept. 11, 1974. (Photo from National Archives)

Golf has long been the pastime of presidents.

LINKS Magazine reports 15 of the last 18 U.S. Presidents have played golf.

President Barack Obama has played more than 200 rounds of golf since he took office in 2009.

While that may sound like a lot, Obama will never catch up to Woodrow Wilson, who reportedly played 1,200 rounds during his presidency.

Obama visited Pinehurst while on the campaign trail in 2008, but he didn’t get a chance to play.

Mr. President, don’t you think it’s time to come back and play Pinehurst No. 2? We’ll set you up with caddie Willie McRae.

He’s carried bags for four presidents: Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.

HEM14906.15 &.16 Richard Nixon, 12-13-1964

Richard Nixon played golf in Pinehurst in 1964 before taking office. (Photo from Tufts Archives)

McRae told the Associated Press that Nixon is the best player of the group, but he enjoyed them all.

“I mean, you’re caddying for somebody who is the head of the United States,” McRae told the AP. “There ain’t but one man ahead of him, and that’s God.”

Here’s a look back at some of Pinehurst’s presidential visits.

President Theodore Roosevelt visited Pinehurst twice: after leaving office in 1909 and before running again in 1912, according to Audrey Moriarty’s book “Pinehurst: Golf, History and the Good Life.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt has visited Pinehurst twice. (Photo from Tufts Archives)

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Payne Stewart’s iconic swing

Not long ago, we tweeted a 3-second Vine of Payne Stewart’s tee shot on the 17th hole of Pinehurst No. 2 during the fateful final round of the 1999 U.S. Open. The response was immediate. The swing looks effortless. It’s classic. It’s so far removed from pretty much every swing you see on any PGA Tour broadcast today.

See?

 

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Willie McRae Remembers Charlie Sifford at Pinehurst

Today, the golf world – more than that, actually – is mourning the passing of Charlie Sifford, who courageously broke golf’s color barrier. The World Golf Hall-of-Famer was presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in November.

Willie McRae appears in the January 2015 issue of Our State magazine. Legendary Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae (at left), who has caddied at Pinehurst for more than seven decades, remembers a moment from one of the Colgate Hall of Fame Classic PGA Tour events, which Pinehurst hosted through the 1970s and early 1980s – a story that includes Arnold Palmer and Sifford.

As McRae tells it:

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