Pinehurst News

Live from the LPGA Tour – Kingsmill Championship

For the next two days, the Pinehurst Blog will be coming to you live from the LPGA Tour’s Kingsmill Championship, where last year Jiyai Shin needed nine playoff holes (NINE!) to clip Paula Creamer in easily the most exciting finish on the LPGA Tour a year ago.

We’ll give you a behind-the-scenes look at one of the LPGA Tour’s best tournaments of the season, where all 10 of the LPGA’s Top 10 players in the world are entered into the field. Outside the top 10? Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Cristie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis, Michelle Wie, Se Ri Pak, Laura Davies, Juli Inkster – they’re all here, too.

Also here are, heretofore affectionately known (at least to us), the Pinehurst 6. All six players on Tour who are previous North and South Women’s Amateur champions – Austin Ernst (2012), Danielle Kang (2011, Alison Walshe (2007), Tseng (2005), Pressel (04) and Brittany Lang (2003).

Any requests? Leave us a comment below and we’ll try to get to it. Let’s head to the tee.

TUESDAY, APRIL 30 PRACTICE ROUND

9:58 a.m. One of the very cool things to see when you hang around the practice green: the number of players’ caddies who walk up to the previous week’s winning caddie – in this case the looper for World No. 1 Inbee Park – to congratulate him. They’ve been doing that a lot lately.

Paula Creamer arrives at the Kingsmill's practice green, much to the delight of the fans.

Paula Creamer arrives at the Kingsmill’s practice green, much to the delight of the fans.

10:15 Paula Creamer arrives to the practice green. Fans had been lining up in the area as soon as her bag appeared in the area – some 20 minutes before she arrived.

Morgan Pressel tees off on the 10th at the Kingsmill's River Course. This shot brought a loud sigh - and a re-tee.

Morgan Pressel tees off on the 10th at the Kingsmill’s River Course. This shot brought a loud sigh – and a re-tee.

10:32 As Creamer walks out, Morgan Pressel walks right on by, signing a few autographs for those who recognize her, as she heads from the 9th green to the 10th tee.

Lexi Thompson takes some time to visit with a young fan.

Lexi Thompson takes some time to visit with a young fan.

11 a.m.

THIS is what the LPGA Tour is selling. Their motto: “See why it’s DIFFERENT out here.” Lexi Thompson took a few minutes to hang out with a young fan.

11 a.m.-3 p.m. A few notes after spending four hours on the range:

  • Creamer wasn’t scheduled to play a practice round until later this afternoon, but put in a full day’s work. She spent nearly two hours on the putting green, and then another two hours on the range. She’s methodical with her routine, taking time in between shots, but she was here to work. She’s a bona fide star in golf, and much of it appears to be well-earned.
  • Also, Creamer usually has anywhere from 4-5 people around her at all times. She’s accessible to media and fans, but one thing is clear on the LPGA Tour – there are THE stars, and there’s a lot of everybody else.
  • Michelle Wie is striking in person, and on the range Tuesday, worked through one of the more unusual practice routines. After working through her bag, Wie interchanged clubs with each shot, going from wedge to driver to long iron to fairway wood, or some combination of that. Seemed odd. And no one has as exaggerated a follow-through as Wie.
  • Christina Kim is as hilarious on the range as she is on Twitter. Full force of personality. She’s fun to watch just practicing and interacting with players, caddies, volunteers and fans. You can’t help but root for her.
  • In the four hours watching players come, hit and go on the range, no one – NO ONE – had as much power as five-time major champion Yani Tseng. Just a wow factor watching her hit balls. The sound off the club, her rocket-high ball flight and strength was unmatched. And it wasn’t close.
  • Karrie Webb is a machine. Not saying that in a bad way. Just a gorgeous, tight, fluid – and repeatable – swing. No wonder she won seven majors – including two U.S. Opens – and is in the Hall of Fame.
  • Wie spent a lot of time on her phone. She has the Instagram account to prove it.
  • Coming soon – video interviews with Paula Creamer, Karrie Webb and Juli Inkster. Only 15 combined majors and five combined U.S. Open Championships there.
  • Just because you’re too polite to ask…no sign of Natalie Gulbis…yet.

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A new favorite comes with a price – Tales From the PGA Tour

Pinehurst's Darron Stiles of the PGA Tour.

Pinehurst’s Darron Stiles of the PGA Tour.

Pinehurst member Darron Stiles is the Web.Com Tour’s all-time career money-winner, which people who don’t know any better would say makes him the Crash Davis of golf. That isn’t accurate, of course, because Stiles has had five seasons on the PGA Tour, and the Web.com Tour success has translated to more than $1.8 million in earnings. Stiles has also earned more than $1.4 million in his five PGA Tour seasons.

Here’s his latest installment to the Pinehurst Blog:

Well, after a much-needed break from a long six weeks on the road, my first trip to Harbour Town for the RBC Heritage was a success.

I had been looking forward to playing Harbour Town for so many years, and now I can’t wait to get back there next year. The golf course is as perfect for my game as a course can get. Length is not an advantage; you must be accurate from the tee and with your irons. That is my formula for success. That being said, my accuracy with irons was not quite as good as I would have liked. Fortunately, my short game was spot on for the week.

I was very happy to leave Harbour Town with a T24 finish and a decent move on both the money list and Fed Ex Cup list.

Last week, I was off to one of my favorite events, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. I have always enjoyed the Big Easy and the courses we have played. We were back to TPC Louisiana again this year, site of my only hole-in-one on Tour.

Unfortunately, the little bug I caught in Hilton Head traveled with me to New Orleans. My ears never popped from my flight on Monday, and generally I felt awful all week.

My golf game suffered a cold as well. I could only manage three birdies in the two rounds for the week, and as of writing this, will miss the cut by a wide margin. It was back to Pinehurst for a little R&R.

Now, though, it’s off to Charlotte and one our best courses all year – Quail Hollow Country Club!

Talk to you soon.

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Gary McCord talks Pinehurst [Video]

http://youtu.be/HVbHg3zshQM

CBS Sports’s Gary McCord visited Pinehurst recently and talked about his first visit to the iconic golf course in 1974 before previewing the back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2014.

And yes, he used a small comb for the ‘stache before going on camera…

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Running Diary: USGA News Conference at Pinehurst [Video]

As expected, several media outlets covered the news conference. Here are links to some of that coverage:

Joedy McCreary of the Associated Press has all bases covered.

John Dell of The Winston-Salem Journal looks at U.S. Opens that will be played with no rough.

Brian Mull of The Wilmington Star-News writes the comparison will be on between the men and women at the 2014 U.S. Opens.

Steve DeVane of The Fayetteville Observer and Chip Alexander of The Raleigh News and Observer look at how the USGA will handle security at the Opens.

Stephen Schramm of The Fayetteville Observer says the countdown has begun in Pinehurst.

Below, Pinehurst offers the most in-depth coverage of the news conference you will find anywhere with it’s running diary of the day:

Today, USGA Executive Director Mike Davis will be joined by U.S. Open Championship Director Reg Jones and Pinehurst Resort and Country Club President Don Padgett II for a news conference to preview the 2014 U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships at Pinehurst No. 2.

The news conference will begin at 1 p.m. and the Pinehurst Blog will provide a live, running diary of the event. Refresh this page often to get a behind-the-scenes look at the news conference as we report live from Pinehurst.

The stage is set for today's USGA news conference to preview the 2014 back-to-back U.S. Opens in Pinehurst.

The stage is set for today’s USGA news conference to preview the 2014 back-to-back U.S. Opens in Pinehurst.

7 a.m. Already tables, chairs, staging and video are in place for the news conference, which is still six hours away. Media are expected to arrive around noon.

Today's centerpiece at each table.

Today’s centerpiece at each table.

10:37 a.m. While Reg Jones takes a moment to practice – and pantomime – his prepared remarks at the podium in a dimmed St. Andrews Room, the Pinehurst staff works on putting the finishing touches at each table, including a centerpiece that can only be found at Pinehurst.

1 p.m.

Reg Jones: “We just want to send our thoughts and prayers to everyone in Boston.”

USGA U.S. Open Championship Director Reg Jones speaks at a news conference previewing the 2014 back-to-back U.S. Opens in Pinehurst. USGA Executive Director Mike Davis (center) and Pinehurst President Don Padgett II (right) look on.

USGA U.S. Open Championship Director Reg Jones speaks at a news conference previewing the 2014 back-to-back U.S. Opens in Pinehurst. USGA Executive Director Mike Davis (center) and Pinehurst President Don Padgett II (right) look on.

“Pinehurst has become the benchmark for our championships.”

“It’s not because it makes things easier for our team inside and outside the ropes. This was not a decision that was financially motivated.”

… Continue Reading

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[VIDEO] 5 Good Minutes at Pinehurst with Tony Kornheiser and Jay Bilas

ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser and Jay Bilas enjoyed their rounds on Pinehurst No. 2 so much recently they took a few good-spirited – and untrue – jabs at their caddies.

Here, Pinehurst goes 5 Good Minutes (and change) with Mr. Tony and Bilas, who talk about their rounds, the joy of being able to play a U.S. Open course, Tony’s favorite golf story he’s ever covered and even an Old Guy Radio song choice specifically for Pinehurst.

Good night, Canada.

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