Pinehurst Heritage Archive

Top 5 Pinehurst U.S. Open moments you may know nothing about

We all probably have an idea of what the best U.S. Open moment in Pinehurst history is. Here are five of the best Pinehurst U.S. Open moments you may know nothing about.

Frolin’s New Best Friend: His buddy Rors

Less than a week before the 2014 U.S. Open, several players visited Pinehurst early to get a look at No. 2, many of them taking local caddies. That included Rory McIlroy, who stayed at The Carolina Hotel and routinely rode the shuttle over to the course. There, at the clubhouse, he’d run into Frolin Hatcher every day.

If you’ve been to Pinehurst, you’ve likely met Frolin. He’s one of the lovable guys at the bag drop who has been working for Pinehurst for over 50 years.

One day, after finishing a practice round, Rory came up the steps at the veranda and walked into the long hallway of the clubhouse. He passed the men’s locker room, and a few steps later, out came Frolin from that locker room.

Looking ahead, Frolin recognized Rory. He hollered out, “RORS!”

McIlroy stopped, turned, and seeing Frolin, yelled back.

“FROLIN!”

McIlroy stood still, waited for Frolin to reach him, and put his arm around Frolin’s shoulders, walking the rest of the way to the clubhouse door.

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Look Closely at Payne Stewart’s Sunday Scorecard

Maybe you’ve seen Payne Stewart’s Sunday scorecard from the 1999 U.S. Open in the display case in the Pinehurst Clubhouse.

But have you REALLY looked at it?

You can see it above. Look closely. Remember how Payne buried a birdie putt on 17 right after Lefty had missed from in close? And, of course, you remember the putt Payne made to win on 18.

So look at the card again. Look at the 2 on 17 and the 4 on 18.

They’re darker than the other numbers.

Often, players keep score for their playing partners in major events like these. That’s probably Phil’s handwriting with the numbers. And that 2 and 4 must’ve REALLY stung.

The Loudest Roar You Never Heard

When Payne Stewart’s putt dropped at the 18th hole of No. 2, the roar from the thousands around the green was deafening.

Still, it may not have quite drowned out another roar, which came around the corner, maybe less than 100 yards away.

That was where the U.S. Open Media Flash Interview Area was set up in 1999, near the back entrance of the Pinehurst Country Club.

As Payne and Phil came down the stretch, a large crowd of media began forming in the flash area. There, on a little card table, sat a 15-inch tube TV with the broadcast. The media swarm huddled around it, waiting to see what would happen.

If Payne made the putt, he would win the U.S. Open. If he missed, there would be an 18-hole playoff on Monday.

And so let it be known that the only roar louder than the one around the green at 18 was the one from the media, who had just watched that one moment in time on a little TV.

Little Lucy’s Big Decision

Before Michelle Wie’s triumph, Lucy Li was THE story of the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. She qualified for the Open at just 11 years old, but before she would steal the spotlight and the hearts of every media member, she made a very savvy decision: hire a local caddie from Pinehurst No. 2.

That fell to Bryan Bush, a teddy bear of a guy who had the pitch-perfect sense of humor to keep Lucy relaxed and focused. The two got to know each other a couple of weeks before the Open, with Bush traveling to meet her and work with her.

The partnership was a terrific one. Li, at such a tender age, played beautifully in the first two rounds. While she missed the cut, she handled the attention and the course impeccably.

And there was Bush, who still works at Pinehurst, every step of the way. He was there for a quick laugh when Lucy needed it, a hug when the time called for it, and the right words of encouragement to get her around No. 2.

Michael Campbell’s Passenger Seat

Michael Campbell, the 2005 U.S. Open Champion at Pinehurst, has always been one of the most likable guys in golf. And while his win on No. 2 may have come as a big surprise to many, even Campbell found himself in moments of disbelief, like the time he buckled the U.S. Open trophy into the passenger seat of his rental car following the trophy presentation and media obligations.

Watch above and listen to Michael tell it. It’s a great, tender, sweet story.

Here’s to looking forward to new memories in 2024.

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Presidents have long been coming to – and commenting on – Pinehurst

GeraldFordwithGolfGreats

Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer and President Gerald Ford played golf during the World Golf Hall of Fame Tournament on Sept. 11, 1974. (Photo from National Archives)

Golf has long been the pastime of presidents.

Sixteen of the last 19 U.S. Presidents have played golf. Some more than others.

Barack Obama played more than 200 rounds of golf since he took office in 2009. While that may sound like a lot, Obama will never catch up to Woodrow Wilson, who reportedly played 1,200 rounds during his presidency.

Maybe that record is in jeopardy now (just a little joke, y’all). In any event, if it is, it’s not likely to be broken here:

That’s OK. We can agree to disagree. And, more room for our guests, then.

It’s been a little while since a President has been in Pinehurst to play. Obama visited Pinehurst while on the campaign trail in 2008, but didn’t hit the links.

And while he’s mostly retired, legendary Pinehurst caddie Willie McRae still takes special requests, and McRae has the experience. He’s carried bags for four presidents: Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower.

HEM14906.15 &.16 Richard Nixon, 12-13-1964

Richard Nixon played golf in Pinehurst in 1964 before taking office. (Photo from Tufts Archives)

McRae told the Associated Press that Nixon is the best player of the group, but he enjoyed them all.

“I mean, you’re caddying for somebody who is the head of the United States,” McRae told the AP. “There ain’t but one man ahead of him, and that’s God.”

Here’s a look back at some of Pinehurst’s presidential visits.

President Theodore Roosevelt visited Pinehurst twice: after leaving office in 1909 and before running again in 1912, according to Audrey Moriarty’s book “Pinehurst: Golf, History and the Good Life.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt has visited Pinehurst twice. (Photo from Tufts Archives)

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Payne Stewart’s other big putt and “fist-pump” on Pinehurst No. 2’s 18th

ABOUT 24 HOURS BEFORE HE MADE THE PUTT THAT EVERYONE IN GOLF WILL FOREVER REMEMBER, PAYNE STEWART had an equally important putt – one for birdie – on the 18th hole of Pinehurst No. 2 at the 1999 U.S. Open.

He made that one, too. And it gave him the lead heading into Sunday’s final round.

And while there’s not a full-throated celebration – it was only Saturday, after all – Payne did lightly shake his fist in triumph, giving us all a glimpse of what was to come.

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That Pinehurst Video You All Love

The title is pretty self-explanatory: So often we hear from our guests how much they enjoy the in-room documentary about Pinehurst’s early history. So, here, for today, enjoy it online:

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A Look Back: Christmas at Pinehurst

It’s always fun sifting through vintage photos, but it’s even better when they include memories from Christmas past. 

Most of these images were shot at the Carolina Hotel during the 1940s, proving the holiday season was just as special then as it is now.

Enjoy this look back in time.

Photos copyright Tufts Archives

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