The newest era in Pinehurst’s history with the USGA was marked with another step Tuesday when USGA and Pinehurst officials gathered with members of the media near Pinehurst No. 2 for the 2017 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Preview Day.
The third playing of the Four-Ball, which will be contested on No. 2 and No. 8 from May 27-31, will be the ninth USGA championship at Pinehurst. While it’s been less than three years since the unprecedented back-to-back U.S. Opens were played in June 2014, the Four-Ball begins a new slate of USGA championships here. With the 2019 U.S. Amateur and the 2024 U.S. Open returning to Pinehurst, the Four-Ball kicks off a run of three national championships in a brief span of seven years.
“After the 2014 U.S. Opens, we were asked often, ‘What’s next? Now, we have three future USGA championships on our calendar. It’s an exciting time at Pinehurst.” -Pinehurst President Tom Pashley
“After the 2014 U.S. Opens, we were asked often, ‘What’s next?'” said Pinehurst President Tom Pashley. “Now, we have three future USGA championships on our calendar. It’s an exciting time at Pinehurst.”
The Four-Ball will open with a field of 128 sides (256 players), which were determined from qualifying sites throughout much of 2016. Two stroke play rounds will determine the low 32 sides before the event shifts to match play. The semifinal and championship matches are May 31 and will be broadcast by Fox Sports.
In four-ball, each player plays his own ball and the low individual score of a side determines the team’s score in medal play or winner of a hole in match play. The format is a common game played among many recreational players, making it a natural fit at Pinehurst.
“The Four-Ball showcases the kind of golf played at Pinehurst every day,” Pashley said.
2015 Four-Ball champion Todd White was featured at the event, fondly recalling his long and storied amateur career that has taken him to many of the top golf courses and amateur events around the country. But for the 49-year-old history teacher from Spartanburg, S.C., Pinehurst resonates even more.
— Pinehurst Resort (@PinehurstResort) April 11, 2017
“The opportunity to compete for any national championship is special,” White said. “Then, to be able to compete in a place like Pinehurst, amid all this tradition — who wouldn’t want to play? To be part of that history, especially as a history teacher, is special.″
2016 Four-Ball champions Andrew Buchanan and Ben Baxter joined the news conference via Skype. The Southern Methodist teammates remembered visiting Pinehurst a couple of years ago for a college tournament.
“You walk through the clubhouse there and get goose bumps when you see all the history,″ Buchanan said.
Pinehurst has been a bastion for amateur golf almost since its founding in 1895. Both the North & South Amateur (since 1901) and Women’s North & South Amateur (since 1903) are the longest consecutively-running amateur championships in the United States. Pinehurst has also served as the site of the U.S. Amateur twice (1962, 2008) and the U.S. Women’s Amateur (1989.) North & South junior and senior events also take place each summer, and the U.S. Kids World Championships are held in Pinehurst every year.