A few longer holes, greens restored to the original size and shape architect Donald Ross had in mind and greens re-seeded with a heat-resistant bent grass has famed Pinehurst No. 2 ready for the 1999 U.S. Open.
It will be only the second time the Open has been played in the South because of the problems summer heat can cause for greens.
“We have been close to insistent that we wanted assurances that these greens would stand out because they are so important to No. 2,” said USGA executive director David Fay, who inspected the course Tuesday. “Thankfully, the ownership felt the same way.”
More than 10 months of work went into refurbishing Pinehurst No. 2.
‘Agronomically, in the eyes of some of the USGA members, it’s a bit of a reach,” Pat Corso, president of Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, said about the tournament coming to the South.
“But I think more and more as every day goes by, there is confidence in the ability of the course to stand the test - both in terms of the playability and the climate,” he said.
Pinehurst used the same bentgrass on its No. 8 course, which opened last year.
“This grass has really demonstrated that it’s the right grass,” Fay said. “In a way, No. 8 is serving as an early warning system. Let’s say if there was something that triggered a bad reaction to the grass, we are going to pick it up a year earlier at No. 8 than we would at No. 2.”
In addition to the reseeding project, all the greens at No. 2 were restored to their original size seen in the 1950s, and the all-important collars, or collection areas, around the greens have been mowed to a tighter level.
The Andersen Consulting World Championship of Golf determines its U.S. champion next week at Reynolds Plantation in Lake Oconee, Ga., with an excellent field missing only Tiger Woods.
Monday’s first-round matches feature David Love III against Corey Pavin, Phil Mickelson against Mark O’Meara, Fred Couples taking on Steve Stricker and Tom Lehman against Scott Hoch. The semifinals and finals are the next day.
The European championship is in May and the International winner will be decided in July.
Laura Davies, who loves soccer, will play for the South Carolina Sea Dawgs, a minor league pro team, Friday. … Biltmore Forest Country Club in Asheville, N.C., was selected by the USGA to host the 1999 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. … Kelli Kuehne, the 20-year-old who turned pro too late in the year to go to the LPGA qualifying school, will use one of her four sponsor exemptions to play in the JAL Big Apple Classic July 17-20.
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