Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about Pinehurst.
The two-time U.S. Open champion knows a little something about Open venues as well.
So when Strange got his first look at the Pinehurst No. 2 restoration during the recent Liberty Mutual Invitational, the man who won two North and South Amateur titles while starring at Wake Forest in the mid-1970s could easily envision how the course and the championship would mesh together.
Few, in fact, could do it better.
And Curtis Strange liked what he saw.
“When I first see this, it takes me back to the 70s to my old North and South days, because it’s very similar to the way it used to be,” Strange said.
Strange is also a fan of one of the most significant changes to the USGA’s U.S. Open preparation of No. 2 – the switching of the fourth hole to a long par-4 and the fifth to a daunting par-5, complete with new back tee boxes.
“You know, the back tee, it looks pretty doggone good. I like it. I really do,” Strange said.
Pinehurst is a special place for the World Golf Hall of Famer. Strange won the prestigious North and South Amateur in 1975 and 1976 and earned his PGA Tour card in 1977 after qualifying on No. 2. Strange went on to win 17 times on Tour, including the 1988 and ’89 U.S. Opens, becoming the first man since Ben Hogan to win back-to-back Opens.
“It’s golf,” Strange said of Pinehurst. “If I had six days before the Good Lord took me, I’d want to come here and play golf.”