Rory McIlroy played a practice round Pinehurst No. 2 this week, and at 18, had to try the famed Payne Stewart putt that won the 1999 U.S. Open in such iconic fashion.
McIlroy, like all the pros coming through, had hole-shaped saucers he could place on the greens to mimic likely hole locations. The USGA announced at Media Day in April that in Sunday’s final round of the 2014 U.S. Open, at 18 – like every Sunday at Pinehurst – the hole location would be in the same spot as when Payne made his memorable putt to clip Phil Mickelson.
Rory, at the advice of local Pinehurst caddie Thomas Trinchitella, dropped a ball to try the putt. The first was one short, but the second was a perfect roll. After a less-than-enthusiastic Payne fist-pump, Rory took another swipe and came through with a model Payne Stewart pose.
More coming with Rory later today, including a video with his thoughts of No. 2 in advance of the U.S. Open.