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Bold Pinehurst No. 2 Facelift Produces A Beauty

PINEHURST, NORTH CAROLINA | One evening last week, Mike Davis and Ben Crenshaw sat side by side on a couch inside the grand Carolina Hotel looking at individual diagrams of each hole at Pinehurst No. 2 printed inside the program for the 1936 PGA Championship that was staged there. Having just finished a dinner with friends, Davis, the USGA executive director, and Crenshaw were like archaeologists looking at the diagrams. They were surprised to see both the fourth and fifth holes played as par-5s that year and how the fairway on the short 13th hole sat far to the left of where it does today. “This is just wonderful,” Crenshaw said, looking at the pages like a man who had rediscovered a lost yearbook. Crenshaw, his hair fully silver now, talks about Pinehurst No. 2 with reverence. When he and partner Bill Coore, who grew up not far away, were asked to restore No. 2, which literally sits adjacent to what was once Donald Ross’ backyard, they paused. They were being asked to retouch a classic that had been buried under acres of Bermuda rough and it was an imposing challenge. The result is a renewed masterpiece, a grand design made great again by, at once, taking it back to what it was while bringing it into a new age. When No. 2 hosts both the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens on consecutive weeks next June, the world will see a course with old bones but a new rustic, ragged and regal look. After dinner, Crenshaw had talked about what he called “the courage” required to do with No. 2 what both Pinehurst and the USGA chose to do.


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