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Matt Oakes

Pinehurst No. 2: Carolina Gem Reclaims Roots, Looks To Future

“What the heck are you doing?!!??” That was the pointed question from a resident of the Village of Pinehurst in 2011 to course architect Bill Coore one day as he strode through the parking lot at famed Pinehurst No. 2. That’s when it really sunk in – the magnitude of his project. After all, when over 40 acres of turf are being stripped up and excavated from a world-renowned course like Pinehurst No. 2, these are the sorts of reactions one might expect. Pinehurst has hosted all sorts of USGA championships, including the 1999 and 2005 US Opens. Famously, in 1999, Payne Stewart won his second and final national title with an electrifying 18-foot par putt make that earned him the trophy by a single stroke over perennial runner-up Phil Mickelson. But the immaculately classic course those two golf titans waged battle on will be nowhere to be found in 2014. Gone will be the graduated rough that required competitors to hack out back into the fairway, effectively serving as a one-shot penalty. This kind of diabolical rough will be notably absent. In its place, Pinehurst will be going all natural, restoring the authenticity of original course architect Donald Ross’s designs. USGA Executive Director Mike Davis says this is the way golf is meant to be played – with luck and fortune featuring prominently. Coore says he’s proud of...

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