It is Sunday morning, June 15, 2014, the last day of the 114th US Open Golf Tournament. Every year I try to watch as much of the US Open Golf tournament on TV as I can. The golf action is always the same. There are phenomenal golf shots, there are safe shots that you are just happy the player made, there are great recovery shots and unfortunately there are the tragically bad shots. Each year a young player or an old player seems to do something magical that makes you realize why you love the game of golf. I have eagerly been waiting for this year’s US Open at Pinehurst No 2. Every year, I hope that Phil Mickelson finally takes home the US Open Trophy (he has been second six times) but each year he does something crazy that breaks my heart, and I am sure his heart, to lose the tournament. In 2010, the Lovely Sharon and I traveled to Pebble Beach attended the Friday round of the US Open. The US Open just has a special feel to it.
This year the US Open is being contested at Pinehurst No. 2. The Pinehurst Golf Resort has 9 courses numbered 1-9, which includes the recently purchased the National Golf Club (a Jack Nicklaus designed course) which has been renamed “Pinehurst No. 9”. The most famous of the Pinehurst Resort’s courses is Pinehurst No. 2 designed by world famous golf course architect Donald Ross.
Pinehurst No. 2 was opened in the early 1900’s and has been a famous test of golf for more than 100 years. US Opens have been held on Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999, 2005 and now 2014. Also played on Pinehurst No. 2 were a PGA Championship, a Ryder Cup and a US Amateur. Next week the Women’s US Open will be played on Pinehurst No. 2. The first time the men’s US Open and the Women’s US Open were held on the same course.
Pinehurst No. 2 has had an overall restoration in the last couple of years and golf course designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw have brought the course back to the way it looked in the 1940’s.
The Pinehurst, North Carolina area, including nearby the town of Southern Pines, is a golf mecca with many fine golf courses, wonderful old hotels and inns, beautiful scenery and plenty of old time southern charm. In 1999, Payne Stewart won the US Open at Pinehurst No. 2. A year or two later I was lucky enough to spend 5 or 6 days in the Pinehurst area playing golf on 4 or 5 different courses including Pinehurst No. 2. It was a wonderful golf trip and I fell in love with the terrain and the Pinehurst area.
So with that background I could hardly wait for this year’s US Open. The US Open has a different feel to it than the other major golf tournaments. It feels more like the TV show “The Survivor” than the other majors. This year after two days of competition, golfer Martin Kaymer was 10 under par and no one was close to him. But Saturday morning I started to wonder if Martin could survive - will he fall back to the pack of golfers chasing him, will someone go on a tear and catch him. On Saturday Martin fell back to 8 under par but was still 5 shots ahead of his nearest competitor.
Yesterday, the oldest player in the field, 53 year old Kenny Perry was playing the 14th hole, a 479 yard par 4. That is long par 4 in anyone’s book. Kenny’s tee shot landed in the junk. If I was playing with my buddies, I would have said that I hit it in the s**t. However, I try to be more refined in this blog so I will say Kenny hit it in the “junk” He was 220 yards from the pin and he hit a shot out of the junk into the air, the ball starting hooking toward the green. It landed on the green and I thought what a great shot, then it kept rolling on the green, it was tracking toward the pin, it was getting closer to the pin and finally, it went into the cup for an eagle. What a shot? Lucky or skillful or both, who cares it was the shot of a lifetime for Kenny and I enjoyed watching the more than 10 replays that NBC showed of this amazing shot.
In a few hours we will learn whether Martin Kaymer can hold on to win the US Open or whether Ricky Fowler or someone else can catch Martin and pull out a victory. I can hardly wait.