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Love Song For Pinehurst No. 2

PINEHURST, NORTH CAROLINA | Perhaps the question is: What do you want from the U.S. Open? A tournament that creates havoc and chaos, where a zillion over par wins and the end result is someone like the late Dick Schaap authoring a history titled Massacre at Winged Foot?
Or as was the unique situation this year in the Carolina Sandhills, an Open where the course isn’t hidden someplace in the rough, the players speak lovingly of the USGA and while people lose strokes they don’t lose balls – as was the case for a Mr. Jack Nicklaus in 1986 at Shinnecock Hills.
As you are aware, the architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw – the latter a two-time Masters winner, so he must know something about playing the royal and ancient game – restored Pinehurst No. 2 to what it used to be decades earlier.
That meant digging up something like 40 acres of Bermuda grass and in its place creating what might be called waste areas of sand and clumps of wire grass.
That also meant the fairways were wider and, lo, golfers could employ their drivers off numerous tees. There still was trouble, but the ball was findable in the trouble. Also hittable, if not always in the direction wished.
There also were those notorious turtleback greens, making Pinehurst on certain holes look like a miniature golf course, without the windmill. One recalls the 1999 Open when John Daly, just off the green at No. 8, swatted his ball one way then back the other way. He was not pleased.
At past Opens few were. It was the late Dave Hill who growled after his first round after the 1972 Open at
Pebble Beach, “They ought to make everyone in the USGA try to get the ball up down from around these greens, and if they couldn’t, they’d have to jump in the Pacific.”


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