Pinehurst 2014 U.S. Opens Archive

One Moment – For All Time

And now, at 100 days or less, the race is on to the start of the 2014 U.S. Open – and even more history at Pinehurst.

But as we look ahead, we know that a visit to Pinehurst is never complete until you pause and take a moment to look back. We see you taking your photos or silently reflecting every day, and we think we know why.

The iconic Payne Stewart statue – When a statue is so much more than just a statue.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We had to make one more update to this post. We didn’t get this photo quite in time for it to make the video, but it absolutely needed a home. This is the best Pinehurst-related photo we’ve seen in a long, long time. Great thanks to Lindsay Wilder Riney.

 

And a special thanks to our followers on Facebook, who jumped at the chance to contribute to this video:

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USGA & Pinehurst Find “Middle” Ground

Vintage Hole No. 9 (2)
USGA Executive Director Mike Davis goes more in-depth about Pinehurst No. 2 setup for the back-to-back U.S. Opens

By LEE PACE

It was at the USGA’s annual meeting held at Pinehurst in February 2010 that incoming USGA President Jim Hyler spoke of the association’s initiative to promote more natural looking golf courses, groomed with less water and chemicals and fewer man-hours.

“Our definition of playability should include the concepts of firm, fast and yes, even brown, and allow the running game to flourish,” Hyler said. “We need to understand how brown can become the new green.”

“You just hope around the world, people will look at this golf course and say, ‘It doesn’t have to be lush and green.’” -Mike Davis

Four years later, the USGA is on the cusp of staging back-to-back U.S. Opens on a Pinehurst No. 2 course that will perfectly illustrate those concepts. The 1907 Donald Ross-designed course was restored from 2010-11 by architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, and the removal of some 35 acres of Bermuda rough and 700 sprinkler heads has resulted in a course more representative of a mid-1900s course than a modern one groomed to perfection with water, fertilizer and staff labor.

Mike Davis, USGA executive director speaks at the USGA news conference during the 2014 Annual Meeting at the Pinehurst Resort in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

Mike Davis, USGA executive director speaks at the USGA news conference during the 2014 Annual Meeting at the Pinehurst Resort in the Village of Pinehurst, N.C. on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014. (Copyright USGA/Chris Keane)

“It’s a throwback to the old days and the idea of ‘maintenance up the middle,’” Executive Director Mike Davis said Saturday at the USGA’s annual meeting, back again in Pinehurst. “This is a major focus of our Green Section. Maintain the middle of the golf course and spend less time and money on irrigation, fertilizer and fungicides in the roughs. Go back to the way golf used to be played. You use less resources and you reduce the cost.

“You just hope around the world, people will look at this golf course and say, ‘It doesn’t have to be lush and green.’ Maintenance up the middle is a great message for the game.”

… Continue Reading

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VIDEO: USGA awards highest honor to Payne Stewart

On Friday, Feb. 7, in the shadow of the Payne Stewart memorial statue behind the 18th green of famed Pinehurst No. 2, the USGA announced the late Payne Stewart as the recipient of the 2014 Bob Jones Award, the organization’s highest honor.

Stewart memorably won the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst with a dramatic 15-foot par putt to clip a young Phil Mickelson by a single shot. Tragically, Stewart died in a plane crash just four months later.

Immediately as incoming USGA President Thomas J. O’Toole Jr. began to make the announcement, the nearby Village Chapel chimes began to ring, eerily similar to the moment they chimed as Stewart sized up his 77-yard pitch to the 18th green to set up the historic finish.

“Payne’s legacy continues to shine as an inspiration to players of all ages.” USGA President Thomas J. O’Toole Jr.

“Payne’s legacy continues to shine as an inspiration to players of all ages,” said O’Toole Jr.. “His spirit and gracious attitude left an indelible mark on everyone who surrounded him. His presence can still be felt by players who were fortunate enough to play with him and by the junior golfers that his Payne Stewart Foundation continues to support.”

“Payne’s larger-than-life personality made him one of the most likable players by peers and fans alike,” said USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “Payne’s strength of character showed through clearly in victory and defeat, which he personally experienced in the U.S. Open. It is only fitting that we will make the presentation of this award to a two-time champion at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in June for players and fans to enjoy.”

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Pinehurst’s Bob Farren talks shop on “Morning Drive”

Pinehurst Director of Grounds and Golf Course Maintenance Bob Farren appeared on The Golf Channel’s Morning Drive on Feb. 6 to discuss famed Pinehurst No. 2* as he and his team ready for the 2014 U.S. Opens.

*As an aside, unfortunately the video used by Golf Channel for the segment is a little dated. Here’s how the 18th green looks today – after the $3.8 million clubhouse renovation:

Pinehurst No. 2 18th Hole

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The Pinehurst No. 2 Restoration – A Hole-by-Hole Tour

Donald Ross believed in providing golfers with strategic choices, and Pinehurst No. 2 was intended to epitomize that philosophy. In March 2011, No. 2 reopened following a year-long restoration project designed to restore the course’s natural and historic character, and the strategic options that were the centerpiece of Ross’s vision. The $2.5 million project was conducted by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and included work on every hole. Features of the project include:

  • Increase fairway widths Fairways were widened by as much as 50%, offering more strategic options in playing holes from tee to green.
  • Removal of rough All rough was eliminated, establishing two heights of grass: greens and everything else.
  • Reintroduction of natural areas 35 acres of irrigated turf were removed, restoring natural areas of sand, wire grass, pine straw and a variety of native grasses.
  • Turf maintenance 650 irrigation heads were eliminated, and the centerline irrigation was restored.
  • Wiregrass More than 200,000 plants were added
  • Overseeding Eliminated during the winter months, allowing for firm, fast conditions throughout the year
  • Increased length Thirteen new tees were added to the championship course, increasing the total championship length by more than 300 yards, to 7,565 from 7,214.
  • Bunker modifications Several bunkers were restored, eliminated or reshaped based on aerial images of the course from the 1940s, and bunkers were edged to create rustic appearance
  • Greens Only two (15 and 17) were modified slightly to increase hole locations.
  • Cart paths Relocated and concrete removed.
Following are detailed, hole-by-hole modifications:
Pinehurst No. 2 1st Hole
1st Hole

Par 4
Yardage: 402
New tee: No
There are more options off the tee, and the removal of turf on the right, left and behind the green brings more natural areas into play. Specific changes include:

  • Added mound to the right of the fairway, about 300 yards from the tee
  • Created visual backdrop by adding a sandy wiregrass mound behind the green and left of the second tee
  • Removed turf behind the green to bring sand, pine needles and wiregrass into play

… Continue Reading

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