This week the US Open is being played at Pinehurst #2. The course has been restored to the original Donald Ross design and conditions … it looks more like the British Open than the US Open.
I like it. Golf courses – especially in America – have become too perfect … too resortish for my taste. The game should be about shot-making and strategy … and dealing with bad lies and bad weather – especially major championship golf.
The town of Pinehurst is very cool – looks like an old New England village, though it’s in North Carolina. And as cool as Pinehurst #2 is … it’s not the coolest thing in town – that honor goes to the Pine Crest Inn. That’s where Hogan and Snead, etc used to stay when they played at Pinehurst. And they had legendary chipping contests into the Inn’s fireplace.
Local PGA Teaching Pro Eric Chiles stopped by the other day and talked about how excited he was to caddy for fellow Minnesotan Clayton Rask at Pinehurst this week. I asked Eric if Rask could make the cut, he replied “He could finish in the top ten.” So yesterday morning while watching the US Open on tv, they flashed to Eric and Rask fist-pumping after Rask made a putt to go to -2 … which at the time put him in second place. But not for long – he finished at 3 over par … hope he makes the cut.
But the media attention was on Phil Mickelson all week. With Tiger gone, Phil is the big star even though Adam Scott is ranked #1 in the world. And in 1999 Phil finished second to Payne Stewart in the US Open at Pinehurst #2.
Phil has finished second in the US Open 6 times – that’s crazy. I think the restoration of the course to the old style of golf plays into Phil’s strengths. And maybe he’s been having chipping contests at the Pine Crest Inn against the ghosts of Hogan and Snead.
Sam Snead never won a US Open … maybe he can help Phil take home the trophy.
GM and Head Golf Professional