BY ALEX PODLOGAR
On a hot and humid July Wednesday, still 11 months before the golf world would descend on Pinehurst, Will Grimmer made Pinehurst the center of the golf universe for a day.
On July 10, 2013, the word began to buzz through the hallways of the Pinehurst clubhouse, and soon, into the Village of Pinehurst. (This is no joke; I first heard about Grimmer while at lunch at The Tavern at The Holly). At the North & South Junior Amateur, a tall, lanky kid from Cincinnati, Ohio, had just posted a 59.
A 59. At Pinehurst.
Phones started ringing. Cell phones began chirping and buzzing. Audrey Moriarty at The Tufts Archives got a call. Former Pinehurst Directors of Golf. Tournament Directors. Lee Pace, the man who has written about every blade of grass – and wiregrass – at Pinehurst, his counsel was sought.
Has there ever been a recorded 59 in the century-plus history at The Cradle of American Golf?
We didn’t find one.
Looking back on Grimmer’s special day, I like to joke about how it singularly illustrates how different our media world is today. I like to quip, “Back in the old days, like, say, 2010, we would’ve written a press release and e-mailed it to media.” (I know, I know. I’m a real comedian. Don’t worry, I’ll stay away from open mic nights.)
Instead, I Tweeted.
Then I rushed out to the tournament office with a video camera and met young Will Grimmer, who was almost embarrassed by the score. The kid couldn’t have been more down to earth or more likable – and he couldn’t have been better on camera.
I shot the video around 2 that afternoon. I immediately went to my office, edited it and got it ready for YouTube. By 3 we had a video to go with any blog post or web story that was in the process of being put together. (SEE BELOW) By 6, a “Will Grimmer Shoots 59 at Pinehurst” story was The Golf Channel’s “Golf Central.” Soon after, clips were being shown on every Cincinnati news station.
“I’ve never gotten more texts, e-mails and Facebook messages in my life,” Grimmer said a year ago. “And then I click on The Golf Channel (Wednesday) night and I see the interview I did with (Pinehurst Resort). I couldn’t believe that. I was like, “Oh my gosh. That’s me on TV.’”
Grimmer’s had a brilliant year even since making unique history at Pinehurst – something that’s tough to do, although we just saw someone do just that a week ago – and returned to Pinehurst only 11 months after his 59 – to play in the 2014 U.S. Open.
We’re glad the first 59 at Pinehurst – at least that we know of – came from Will Grimmer. He’s a great kid, and someone -as you can see in that fateful video above – who fully understood the weight of what he had just accomplished that day and why it was significant. We wish him the best of luck in everything he does, and we look forward to celebrating another worthy anniversary of golf history being made at Pinehurst.
Just a few more interesting notes about that day:
- Before we shot the video, we had to get someone from the tournament office to patch the “Cincinnati” you see in the cover shot (and photo that accompanied every story). It was spelled “Cincinatti” on the original scoreboard. Really glad we caught that one.
- Grimmer really was embarrassed about the score. He went into the clubhouse afterward, and when someone asked him what he had shot that day, he murmured and stammered. Finally, he choked out, in almost a whisper, ‘Fifty-nine.” What a great kid.
- When Grimmer returned to Pinehurst for the U.S. Open, I caught up with him for the first time on the putting green on Monday as hundreds of people lined the fence to watch the greatest players in the world. “I can’t believe this,” he said. “This is A LOT different than when I was here the last time.”
- Will Grimmer didn’t win the North & South Junior. Will Blalock did. He shot 15-under in three days – and beat a fourth-place Grimmer by six shots.
Here are a few links to mainstream media stories about Grimmer’s special round:
GOLF CHANNEL’S “GOLF CENTRAL:” http://www.golfchannel.com/media/golf-central-wednesday-feature-4/?cid=twitter_gc_v_59_teenager_071113