Pinehurst News

We’ll miss Jim Connors

If you live near us in Pinehurst, or even if you’ve visited us at some point and stayed with us at one of our hotels, there’s a good chance you’ve heard or seen Jim Connors of TWC News 14 give you that day’s sports report.

It was with great sadness to learn this week of Jim’s passing at the tender age of just 51. He leaves behind his wife and two teenage children, and our sincerest condolences go out to the Connors family. Jim was always a tremendous pleasure to work with when he visited Pinehurst. A true joy. (Please take 5 minutes to watch Mike Solarte’s wonderful tribute to Jim here.)

We’re reminded of a wonderful little memory of Jim that involves golfer Morgan Pressel. A few weeks ahead of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, Pressel, a former Pinehurst champion herself, was a guest of the USGA to speak with local media to preview the Women’s Open. Pressel did a modified news conference adjacent to the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2 with the assembled media, and then made herself available for one-on-ones.

Jim had one of those scheduled, and moved to a bench nearby under the tall pine trees for a perfect setting. Jim, always gracious, introduced himself, saying, “Jim Connors – you can call me Jimmy, like the tennis player.”

Morgan Pressel shot him a look, and with a straight deadpan tone, fired back, “You don’t want to me to call you that. Jimmy Connors is an a——.”

Pressel let the moment hang there for only about 2 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. Jim’s face was frozen for a bit, but then Pressel broke into a large smile and let Jim off the hook. “I’m just kidding,” she said, patting Jim on the arm. “Aaron Krickstein is my uncle. There’s a bit of a history there.”

Oh yes, a lot of history.

Morgan Pressel

Looking back, though, it was a funny, unscripted moment, one Pressel could’ve never prepared for. But as people around golf know, Pressel’s wit is always firing, and it helps to be on your toes.

It also helps to roll with it, which is exactly what Jim did, and did very well. And for it, Jim had as much time with Pressel as he wanted. After taking a good-natured shot like that, Jim never flinched when the camera’s light came on, and he and Pressel had perhaps the most engaging interview of the afternoon.

Simply, Jim Connors was a pro. A true pro.

And we’ll miss him.

Leave a comment

Don’t miss these Thanksgiving activities

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, it will be here faster than you can say “gobble, gobble.”

Now’s the perfect time to start nailing down your plans for your holiday visit.

We put together a list of the top five “can’t miss” activities to add to your Thanksgiving bucket list.

Of course, this is just our opinion. Feel free to carve out your own itinerary by browsing our schedule of events. 

Go sledding in our Winter Wonderland

SnowMyYard9 to 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 27 on the Carolina Terrace

We’re transforming the Carolina Terrance into a Winter Wonderland with real snow! After sledding down a snow-covered slide, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. Adults can enjoy a steamy cup of coffee while their little ones write Letters to Santa. Mrs. Claus will be there to collect the letters and pass them on to Santa. Snow My Yard will help us create this magical experience.

Enjoy the sounds of the season

8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25 in the Grand Ballroom

A Carolina Philharmonic concert is sure to get you in the holiday spirit. Come celebrate the season with pops music that will leave you feeling festive.

Both hotel guests and local residents are invited to attend. Click here to find out how to purchase tickets.

Get creative with candyThanksgiving (Gingerbread kids)

2 to 2:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27 in the South Room 

Icing and candy canes and gum drops, oh my! We’ll provide all the sweets you need to deck out your gingerbread house. All you need to bring if your creativity. Sign up by calling Resort Services at extension 58415.

Take a family wagon ride through Pinehurst

2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, meet in the Carolina Hotel lobby

Soak in the history and the charm of the Pinehurst with a wagon tour of the area. It’s a great way to slow down and really enjoy the unique spirit of the Village. Sign up by calling Resort Services at extension 58415.

Experience Falconry with ChipFalconrywithChip

5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25 in the Cardinal Ballroom

Join Chip in the Cardinal Ballroom for a fascinating falconry session at 5 p.m. Wednesday. You’ll get to see birds of prey like the peregrine falcon, red-tailed hawk, Harris hawk, owls and more during this interactive learning experience. Chip will share his knowledge of these unique birds and give you a chance to see them fly!



Leave a comment

Andrew Smith, after inspirational win at Pinehurst, featured on Golf Channel

Sgt. Andrew Smith was featured on The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive over the weekend after winning his Wounded Warrior flight at the inaugural VGA Championship at Pinehurst No. 2.

We’re proud to add Andrew’s name to Pinehurst’s distinguished list of champions. At Pinehurst, we’re accustomed to walking in the footsteps of champions. But with men and women like Andrew, we got the chance to walk in the footsteps of heroes.

Leave a comment

Mitchum rallies to defeat Padgett, winning 15th Palumbo Cup

Palumbo6WEB (1200x828)

Kelly Mitchum tees off the 8th hole of Pinehurst No. 2 during his match against Don Padgett II in the 2015 Palumbo Cup Championship. (Photo by Sarah Campbell)

By Alex Podlogar

VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. – Put Don Padgett II and Kelly Mitchum in the same pairing, and one could only imagine the conversation.

What could they have talked about?

Gosh, where to begin?

Padgett could’ve mentioned his eight PGA Championship appearances, when he made the cut four times and finished as the low club pro three times.

Mitchum could’ve countered with his own experiences in golf’s last major championship of the year, in which he has competed four times since 2005.

Or perhaps Padgett could’ve mentioned his All-American career at Indiana, his life on the PGA Tour from 1972-74, or the championship-low 66 he shot while paired with Lee Trevino in the 1977 U.S. Open at Southern Hills.

Mitchum, then, might’ve mentioned his own All-American career at N.C. State, his North & South Amateur Championship in 1993, his Walker Cup appearance or his run to the semifinals in the 1992 U.S. Amateur.

Of course, none of that happened. Both men are much too modest. … Continue Reading

Leave a comment

Pianist Gary Brown keeps tradition alive in the Carolina Dining Room

As a second-grader Gary Brown knew exactly what he wanted to be when he grew up – a piano player.

While most kids dream of being an astronaut or President of the United States, Gary’s idol was closer to home. He wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Robert Murphy delighted guests in the Carolina Dining Room with his music for three decades before being diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in 2012, but his memory lives on thanks to his family.

You see, Gary isn’t the only member of the Murphy family who plays at Pinehurst. His uncle, Paul Murphy, has been known to take on dinner shifts when he’s not busy at his church.

Gary was just a freshman at Pinecrest High School when he started playing at the Carolina, but piano wasn’t his primary instrument. Instead, he played the drums as part of a trio featuring the Murphy family.

I’ve been playing here for almost 13 years now and it seems like I just started yesterday,” Gary said. “There’s never a dull moment and I love what I do. When I come here, I don’t feel like it’s work at all.”Gary2WEB

It didn’t take long for him to graduate to the piano. After all, he’s been playing as long as he’s been walking.

“The piano just drew me near,” he said. “Every time I was around it, I would go and play.”

Gary took piano lessons, but his grandfather helped him hone his skills.

It was Robert Murphy who introduced him to musicians like Beethoven, Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. He also instilled in Gary the value of hard work.

“My grandfather always taught me about providing a service and being able to do your best, have integrity and letting your work speak for itself,” he said. “I’ve always tried to carry that on.”

When Gary isn’t playing in the Carolina Dining Room, he’s busy tuning and cleaning pianos, skills he learned from his grandfather. His lessons got underway in 2006 when he was just a junior in high school.

“He was grooming me to take over the family business,” Gary said.

Gary plans to pass his love of music on to his son, Gary Jr., and daughter, Kaelyn.

“My son cries for the keyboard,” Gary said. “I bought him a baby recliner, and when I put the keyboard in front of him, he just plays and plays.”

Kaelyn, who is 5 years old, is more interested in vocal music.

“She’s has an absolutely beautiful voice,” Gary said.

 Click here to read more about Gary and his family.

Gary is available for private events, as well as piano cleaning and tuning. Contact him through his website

Leave a comment