Pinehurst News

Golf with Michael Jordan

Wednesday, Feb. 17, was Michael Jordan’s 53rd birthday, and with it, we’re reminded of how much His Airness enjoys not only golf, but golf on Pinehurst No. 2.

But what’s a round of golf with MJ really like? Below, Tar Heels coach Roy Williams explains, and as he says, you better be ready to “stand up to the lip.”

(And don’t miss the sweet, sweet dig Coach gets on MJ’s game.)

If you want more with Coach Williams talking about golf and basketball – and timeouts – go here.

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Every stroke by Payne Stewart aired during the 1999 U.S. Open’s final round

Yes, this has been online for a while. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t take a moment to hail Michael David Murphy as a genius and great contributor to the game of golf (and Pinehurst).


Everything about this is a triumph. Listen to the rhythm of the shots as they are struck throughout. Note the pre-restored Pinehurst No. 2. Marvel at the beautiful golf swing. Remember just how long and perilous the par-saving putt on 16 was.

And then the finish.

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The New Yorker nails it

Even in winter, many of us, though, have continued to work on our golf games whenever we can, even if that means staying inside. So when we saw one of The New Yorker’s newest cartoons, we couldn’t help but laugh:

Here’s to golf – wherever you can get it.

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The Man Behind the Payne Stewart Statue

Payne Stewart statue at dusk

A few months ago, there was a terrific feature by Golf Digest’s John Strege on Zenos Frudakis.

Not sure who Zenos Frudakis is? Here, let Strege explain:

It is the bane of the successful contemporary artist that his work is usually better known than his name. In this case, his name is Zenos Frudakis. Ever heard of him?

Yet even the casual golf fan is likely familiar with the sculpture of a celebratory Payne Stewart, one leg in the air, his right fist piercing the sky, on display near the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2 where Stewart struck this pose as he won the U.S. Open in 1999.


There is a lot of great stuff in the piece. Among the best:

“We’re not going to forget these people and what they accomplished and meant to us,” Frudakis said. “Bronze helps us do that because it endures. That’s the reason the Egyptians made sculpture.”

In 2001, Zenos Frudakis poses with Payne Stewart’s family at the dedication of the statue behind the 18th green of Pinehurst No. 2.

Frudakis can hold his own with anyone in golf:

“Do you golf?” Nicklaus asked him while posing in his home adjacent to Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio.

“No,” Frudakis replied.

“That’s all right, that’s all right,” Nicklaus said.

“Do you sculpt?” he asked Nicklaus.

“No,” Nicklaus replied.

“That’s all right, that’s all right,” Frudakis said, apparently with glee.

The Legacy:

Soon after Payne Stewart died in a freak airplane mishap in October of ’99, Frudakis was commissioned by Pinehurst Resort to capture that iconic moment when the winning putt dropped. He recalls traveling to Pinehurst and encountering a despondent Stewart family. “I remember I went into the golf shop and his son [Aaron] was sitting on the floor in a corner by himself, looking very sad,” he said. “His widow [Tracey] looked devastated.”

“It’s extremely gratifying for me, to see people take the pose, especially to see his daughter do it.” – Zenos Frudakis

The sculpture he produced was unveiled in 2001, but its impact was not fully realized until the U.S. Open there in 2014. By then it had become a popular landmark at Pinehurst, when hordes of fans were photographed striking a similar pose alongside the Stewart statue, including Stewart’s daughter Chelsea. “The coolest statue photo you’ll see this week,” the PGA Tour called it on Instagram.

“It’s extremely gratifying for me, to see people take the pose, especially to see his daughter do it,” Frudakis said, “to see them interact with the piece, to see [Chelsea] laughing, smiling.

“It’s his moment of victory. It was exciting. With Payne Stewart at the peak of his career, this was his Icarus moment, to have fallen so tragically from such a high place. I think for a lot of people there is some healing for having the sculpture. The sense with bronze is that people have wanted to make something that will last because we don’t.”

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A classic Jordan Spieth story

This is a pretty classic Jordan Spieth story, as told by country music star Jake Owen:

Here’s Jake telling the story:

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