Pinehurst News

Kelly Mitchum On Air with “The Adam and Joe Show”

Pinehurst professional Kelly Mitchum joined The Adam and Joe Show on ESPN The Triangle’s 99.9 sports talk radio show on Wednesday to talk about his playing in his fourth PGA Championship.

It’s a great interview with the nicest, most unassuming golf professional in the land. And Adam Gold did a great job. You can listen to the interview in the video above, which includes photos of Mitchum’s shooting of his segment of “The Road to the PGA Championship.”

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U.S. Kids at Pinehurst — In Pictures

Pinehurst US Kids FlagsIf you were not able to come out to Pinehurst Resort to take in the action of the U.S. Kids World Championship, fear not. Here’s a flavor of what you could’ve found just from walking around the area.

(For complete results from any of the 13 championships, go here.)

Pinehurst U.S. Kids RangeThere are 13 different tournaments going on at once all around the Pinehurst area – six for the girls and seven for the boys. But much of the practice time is spent at Pinehurst Country Club, which offers by far the best practice facilities. But on those practice round days, make sure you get your work in early, or you may not be able to find a spot on the range at Maniac Hill. At one point Wednesday, kids were two to a mat, alternating one shot at a time. Sounds like a good way to make new friends.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids Karl Vilips

Australia champion golfer Karl Vilips, 10.

There are players in Pinehurst from 40 different countries and every state in the United States. Besides London during this opening week of the Olympics, there may be no other place in the world offering an international athletic competition this diverse than in Pinehurst. Aussie Karl Vilips has won twice at U.S. Kids and is one of the best 10-year-old players in the world. And he’s back at Pinehurst looking for, as he puts it, a third major championship.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids SignU.S. Kids promotes sportsmanship and encourages families to play golf together. Most of the caddies for the 1,250 players are parents on the bag.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids Keys Pace of PlaySometimes, though, things can get too competitive. Pay attention here to suggestions 1, 8 and 11. Some don’t necessarily adhere to those rules though. Overheard in the men’s locker room this week:

Dad: “So, how was he?” (referring to son’s playing partner during a practice round.)

Son: “Fine. He was a nice guy. I liked…”

Dad: (interrupting) “I didn’t ask if he was nice. I don’t care whether he was nice or not. Can he play? How good was he?”

But that’s by far the aberration.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids FamilyWith people coming into Pinehurst from all over the world and the country, there’s no dearth of cameras on site. And no dearth of photo ops, either.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids FamilyU.S. Kids likes families. And families are everywhere. The family that golfs together…

Pinehurst U.S. Kids WeatherWhat’s the hardest part of the day for U.S. Kids tournament officials? Any weather delay. Even though the grounds at Pinehurst stayed dry during Thursday’s first round, there was lightning within 10 miles. And that means everybody is shuttled off the course.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids WeatherBut again, with no rain, this kind of delay is easier to handle. It’s much easier for announcements to be made about resuming play when everyone can congregate in one place outside.

Pinehurst Club Shop Rickie FowlerWhat’s the most popular hat at the U.S. Kids World Championship?

Honestly, do you really even need to ask. Two interesting notes here: 1) You see a lot of girls wearing Rickie Fowler’s brand as well, and 2) The younger the golfer, the more the hat’s bill is bent. The older, the less.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids Father Daughter

Pinehurst U.S. Kids Father SonWhile many parents caddie for their kids during this tournament, they also serve as coaches. Fathers and sons, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons and mothers and daughters share the legacy of the game.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids CartsWith so many parents serving as caddies, it’s hardly a regular thing for them to carry a golf bag for five days. So they get a little help. But the pullcarts aren’t what they used to be.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids News 14With so many young golfers in one area for a series of prestigious tournaments, it’s no surprise to see media covering the event. On Thursday, Raleigh-area News 14′s Amanda Weber came out to gather footage for a story on the event.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids ShotWatch them play as a spectator, or just watch them practice on Maniac Hill. You’ll come away with one thought — these kids, no matter how young they are, have a better swing than you ever will.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids ScoreboardPinehurst U.S. Kids ScoreboardSuch good swings that they could top the leaderboard for all to see.

Pinehurst U.S. Kids ScoresYes, there are a lot of tournaments to keep tabs on. And a lot of scores. And a lot of volunteers needed.

Pinehurst Putter Boy U.S. KidsNo doubt, there’s no better place for U.S. Kids to be than at Pinehurst. And the Putter Boy just has to love seeing kids his size running around.

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Pinehurst’s Kelly Mitchum — At the PGA Championship

 

KELLY MITCHUM ON MONDAY — DAY 1 AT THE PGA

KELLY MITCHUM ON TUESDAY — DAY 2 AT THE PGA

KELLY MITCHUM ON THURSDAY — ROUND 1 OF THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Pinehurst Resort’s Kelly Mitchum is just days away from competing in his fourth PGA Championship, and first since 2006. Mitchum, as we chronicled here, finished tied for second in June’s PGA National Championship at Bayonet Black Horse in Seaside, Calif., punching his ticket to professional golf’s fourth and final major championship of the season.

And we’re going to take you with him.

Over the last few weeks, Mitchum has been readying himself for the treacherous Ocean Course at Kiawah, S.C. (The Ocean Course ranked 5th in Golf.com’s recent “Top 100 You Can Play” for 2012, two spots behind Pinehurst No. 2.) And now, beginning with Monday’s practice round, we will provide daily reports and updates of Mitchum’s progress on Pinehurst.com and here at the Pinehurst Resort Blog, getting comments from the highly regarded Pinehurst Golf Academy instructor following each day’s events.

Before he headed south on Sunday, we had a chance to catch up with Mitchum at the Golf Academy, and it’s no surprise what he’s been thinking about in those moments between giving lessons these last few days.

“I’ve had the Ocean Course on my mind about every day,” says Mitchum.

“And I know how it’s going to play — it’s going to play hard,” he adds. “It’s going to be a challenge. The golf course is very penalizing all the way around.”

Mitchum knows the Ocean Course well, and shot a 67 on it in a sectional championship. But that day the course played at 6,700 yards. PGA officials have said the course will likely play around its Ryder Cup length of 7,600 yards. He will tee off in the championship’s first tee time at 7:20 a.m. on Thursday with playing partners D.A. Points and Marcel Siem.

While completing in the PGA Championship isn’t unfamiliar to Mitchum — the 1993 North and South Amateur champion has played in several PGA Tour events over the years and played the PGA Championship in back-to-back years in 2005-06 — the task of competing on the major championship level is a daunting one. No club professional has made the top 30 since 1992 and four times in the last 15 years no club pros even made the cut.

Mitchum isn’t worried about any of that, however, and is eager to get to Kiawah. Just a few hours south, Mitchum will have plenty of support in his gallery, and his wife and two children will travel with him.

“It’s exciting to have another chance to play in a major championship,” Mitchum says. “I’m just ready to get to it.”

And Pinehurst.com and the Pinehurst Resort Blog will take you with him every step of the way.

For more coverage, get more frequent updates by following Pinehurst Resort on Twitter and Facebook.

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Get the Story: Behind the scenes with News 14 and U.S. Kids

News 14 reporter Amanda Weber interviews 12-year-old golfer Olivia White during the U.S. Kids World Championship at Pinehurst Resort.

As the opening rounds began for the 2012 U.S.Kids World Championship, there was little surprise to see a media presence at Pinehurst Resort, which is hosting much of the event. On Thursday, the Boys 12-year-old division began on Pinehurst No. 4, while the Girls 12-year-old division opened on Pinehurst No. 3.

Amanda Weber of News 14 came out to gather footage of the events at Pinehurst and was able to chat with a few of the players for a piece that will air on the Time Warner Channel repeatedly after 5 p.m. on Thursday.

We decided to tag along with Amanda to see how she got the nuts and bolts of her story.

10:30 a.m. Amanda arrives in a News 14 company car at the front of the Resort Club and gathers her equipment together. She digs out a TV camera and tripod, hooks on a fanny pack with other essentials, and heads for the front of the clubhouse. She is reporter, cameraman, driver — everything. She’s flying solo.

Amanda is looking for a story. But not just a story of the tournament itself. She doesn’t want to weigh things down with U.S. Kids officials. She needs faces, places and personalities. And with a weather delay winding down and players headed back out to the course, it’s controlled chaos around the putting green, driving range and chipping area. She’s essentially landed on another planet and told to “get the story.”

And that’s what she does. After getting a list of tee times, she has to do a little math. Things are running nearly 2 hours behind. She scans the list, looking for people from faraway places. It’s nearly 11, and she has a 5 p.m. deadline. This will be the easy part ahead of the editing that awaits her. But with a 45-minute drive back to Fayetteville thrown in, she can’t spend a lot of time on site at Pinehurst.

So she gets to work. Heading to the first tee of No. 3, she runs into Olivia White and her family. Olivia is from Los Angeles, her dad is on the bag and she’s about to tee off in 10 minutes. This has the makings of a perfect storm.

After briefly talking with Olivia, Amanda realizes it is. This was essentially a pre-interview to determine whether Olivia would work on camera. She’s articulate and gives thoughtful answers.

It’s go time.

Amanda has to hurry, because Olivia’s tee time is next. As the official starter begins walking up the hill to them, Amanda notices, gives a slight nod and goes to a wrap-up question. She’s only started her day at Pinehurst, and just wants to get the story without ruffling any feathers. This isn’t covering a fire, but it’s a feature that will run several times over the next 24 hours, and she’s got to get it right.

Amanda sets up the camera and tripod and mics Olivia with a wireless lapel mic. This has to happen quickly; the official starter is already looking for Olivia. Amanda wraps up the 3-5-minute interview as the starter is walking up the hill to break things up, not unlike the umpire who walks out to the mound after the pitcher and coach have taken too long.

Done. Now Amanda has to move.

We go with her.

Amanda wants to know where she can and can’t go. That’s where we come in. Amanda sets up on the right corner of the first tee box and angles the shot back at Olivia as she sets up her opening tee shot. Here she not only gets a nice angle of Olivia’s caddie and father in the background, but the perfect angle to zoom in on Olivia as she completes her follow-through. Amanda then follows the action as Olivia begins walking down the fairway.
Everything’s come together in a hurry — Great kid, articulate, great shots.

What else? Amanda could use some film of the family. Caddie Dad is on the course, but Cathie, Olivia’s mom, and Aubrey, her 11-year-old sister, are following in a cart. We pick up Amanda and follow Olivia’s group — and her cheering section.

Amanda likes the shot of the two in the cart, and chats with them briefly on camera after filming Olivia’s group off the tee of the second hole. When done with the interview under the pines, and after the family drives on, Amanda can’t believe her luck. “What a nice family. This is perfect.”

Still, Amanda could use a little more. Maybe some footage of the kids practicing back on the putting green and chipping area.

Moments after getting off the cart while still grabbing her equipment, she runs into Davis Eichelberger and his father, Chip. Amanda introduces herself, and chats with the pair. It’s subtle, but Amanda is sizing them up without them even knowing it. She finds a connection with the father, who went to the University of Oregon. Amanda’s dad, it turns out, spent a year at Oregon. The Eichelbergers live in Knoxville now, and Amanda, the South Carolina grad, gets a chance to talk a little SEC football with Davis, a Tennessee fan. It’s clear Davis can handle himself, and Amanda finishes putting the video equipment up.

Davis Eichelberger, 12, handles himself well in front of the camera. “Energy and smiles,” Davis’ father, Chip, says to him before he goes on. “I speak for a living,” Chip says. “I know energy and smiling works.”

Amanda needs some action of Davis, though. She gets him around the chipping green.

“That was great. He almost holed it,” Chip says. “I hope she got that.”

Amanda’s almost done. She can’t believe her good fortune. “These kids are better with the camera than most adults I talk to every day,” she says.

She gets more footage from Pinehurst’s Maniac Hill, the practice range. We walk her out on the far right side so she can get a good angle of the line of young golfers hitting away. “Don’t get me injured,” she quips.

In the middle of the range is a small boy. Amanda has to get a closer look.

She settles behind him for a moment, camera in hand, filming the perfect swing from the 8-year-old from Mexico. Amanda talks briefly with the father, introducing herself.

She then turns to the boy. “You want to be on TV?”

“No.”

Amanda tries again, but realizes it’s no use. And she’s not going to push the matter.

“It’s amazing how focused he was,” she says later of the boy. “I ask, ‘You want to be on TV?’ And he’s quick: ‘No!’ Then back to golf. That’s funny.”

No worries. Amanda’s got the boy’s swing on camera.

It’s noon, and time to go.

Five hours til deadline.

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Vijay Mishra and his “Big Break” at Pinehurst

Almost an hour before the U.S. Kids Teen Skills Challenge was even to begin, they started looking at the glass.

Planning. Plotting.

A 2×2-foot pane of glass, perched on a pole some 30 yards away, was beckoning some of the best young golfers in the world. Pick a club – any club – and fire away. This glass was meant to be broken.

Some of them tilted their heads, angling for the perfect look at the glass. Others rubbed their chins.

Five iron? Three? Wedge?

No, not wedge. Definitely not wedge.

A 3-wood stinger? Not a bad idea. Driver?

Hmmmm. How about driver off the mat, no tee?

Interesting.

As soon as they were given the go-ahead, they huddled around the mat, the chatter quickly moving away from the stressful recounts of their respective first round scores. The first few made their attempts, all trying essentially the same shot, but with varying clubs.

It had to be low, and it had to sting. The soft punch shots a few tried, as if playing a shot to get them out from under Pinehurst’s towering pines, weren’t going to get it done. Even this glass could withstand the safe shot.

No, this had to move. This needed some heat on it.

Grip it (low), and rip it.

Boys tried. Young men tried. Girls. Righties. Lefties. The kid who belted a 302-yard drive at the long drive contest couldn’t master this one.

Some aimed right, hoping their ringing hook would do the trick. Others looked left and went outside-in with the swing path, generating a wicked slice.

Some shots dribbled. Many attempts sailed well high.

A few came close. Very close. Agonizingly close. A few tried again. And again. But through 186 attempts, the glass stood unbroken, gleaming in the blazing Carolina sun.

Then came Vijay Mishra, 14, from North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Five iron in hand, he looked right of the glass. He waggled. Checked his target. Waggled again. Checked again. Then checked again, this time a split-second longer.

The ball never strayed from the target. Mishra would say later he aimed right, going with the hook. The ball did just that, but only to strike the top of the glass dead center.

Finally, someone had done it.

And the crowd around him roared.

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