Pinehurst 2005 – The U.S. Open

The 2005 U.S. Open is fast approaching with tee times starting early on thursday morning. What is great about the U.S. Open is that its “OPEN to about anyone” with a handicap index of 1.4 or better (I believe).

Pinehurst is considered the ‘home of golf’ apart of St. Andrews. Everyone who knows golf also remembers Payne Stewart having a memorable win there in 1999 making a clutch par putt on the 18th hole to win by 1 over Phil Mickelson.

Its a very special place. I had a chance to visit and play the Pinehurst courses a handful of times as a junior golfer in High School. We rarely got to play Pinehurst #2. I did get a chance to play a 9 hole tournament on it, and let me tell you, those 9 holes were something to remember.

I distinctly remember my 6-putt on the first hole. Yes, you read that right, a 6 putt. The greens are like upside soup bowls. Unless you are in the middle of the green, your ball is rolling off the sides. In my case, I had a 6 footer for double bogey, and I happened to miss the putt on the low side. Low and behold, the ball decided it would be cool to roll 35 feet into the middle of the fairway. It was one of those hills where if you didn’t get the ball pin high, it was going to roll back down to your feet. Well, I got an 11 on the hole. Other players were next to the green in 2, and walked away with 13’s.

The obvious question this year is on Tiger Woods. Can he earn his 2nd Major of 2005? Is his game ‘good enough’ right now to earn that 2nd Major over a very strong field? He is not as dominant as he was several years ago, so that is a factor against him. He is working on a new swing, so that is going against him. Then again, those were the same factors against him at Augusta, and he still pulled through. I have a good feeling Tiger will be ready by Thursday morning.

Scores will NOT be low at Pinehurst. I believe Payne Stewart was the only man who finished under par. He shot -1 for the tournament.

My father is entertaining some guests down in Pinehurst this year, so I have forced him, err… requested he take ALOT of pictures during the practice rounds. I will make sure he tries to get some ‘inside’ pictures to if possible. Inside meaning inside the ropes type of deals.

Have you been to Pinehurst? What was your experience like? Please share with us.