Arrival Of Female Golfers To Pinehurst Generates Buzz On Final Day Of U.S. Open
Martin Kaymer went wire-to-wire and won the U.S. Open by eight shots yesterday, but the "biggest buzz of the week came early Sunday morning, when the women walked onto the range" to begin preparations for this week's U.S. Women's Open, according to Ed Hardin of the Greensboro NEWS & RECORD. In the early morning hours, some of the LPGA players "began to arrive" at Pinehurst, and "word began to pass through the crowd that they were at the practice area." Fans began to "collect near the range, where they saw an odd sight." The male players "stopped their pre-round routines and walked up to the women to welcome them." This overlap "was a first," as "never have the Opens been played on the same course back-to-back." In the final moments before he began his round, Kaymer was "on the range while scores of LPGA players filed past" (Greensboro NEWS & RECORD, 6/16). In N.Y., Karen Crouse writes by mid afternoon yesterday, more fans were "ringing the practice green than usually flock to the first tees" of LPGA events. Henrik Stenson was "making his way to the driving range when he passed" Natalie Gulbis. He "gave her the once over and said to no one in particular, 'The range looks so different today.'” Kaymer said that he "tried out one woman’s putting instructional tool on the green." Grinning, he said of the men mingling with the women, “I didn’t mind it. It relaxes the atmosphere a little bit.” Rory McIlroy added, "It’s cool to run into the girls. I would like to see it happen more often. I think it’s a good thing for women’s golf to give them a little bit more exposure" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/16). GOLF WORLD MONDAY's Ron Sirak notes Gulbis was the "first female on the range when it opened for the women at noon yesterday." She said, "I was nervous to come out here. It's the U.S. Open, and it's Sunday. I didn't want to bother anyone" (GOLF WORLD MONDAY, 6/16).
THE REVIEWS ARE IN: In North Carolina, Mike Purkey writes Pinehurst No. 2 "comported itself with aplomb and to the cheers of most every player in the field." The USGA and the Pinehurst greens staff "kept the course on the razor’s edge all week without going off the reservation, especially because it was necessary to save the course for the Women’s Open." Phil Mickelson said, "I just loved the golf course, the setup, how it played, how fair it was." Adam Scott added, "I think they prepared the course beautifully for us and it was a good, fair test. You had to play some pretty good golf to shoot a good score around here" (Southern Pines PILOT, 6/16). But in DC, Sally Jenkins writes, "It would have been nice if the U.S. Open had been played on a traditional U.S. Open course because maybe then someone could have stayed awake to watch it." It was a "failed experiment for the tournament, which became a classroom lesson in botany and was about as interesting" (WASHINGTON POST, 6/16). In Cincinnati, Paul Daugherty writes it is "understood" that the USGA "wants to torture Open contestants in the name of protecting par." But it is "less clear why the USGA wants to do the same to the rest of us." Daugherty: "We having fun yet? ... Drama happens through screwing up, not succeeding greatly. Not much fun in that. If you're looking for fun major championships, dial back the calendar a few months. See: Masters, The" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 6/16).
ON TO THE NEXT ONE: In Seattle, Scott Hanson notes following the tournament, the "baton was passed" from Pinehurst to Chambers Bay outside of Tacoma, Wash., which hosts the event next year. Buildup for the '15 U.S. Open could "be the biggest in the history of the event for many reasons," including that it will be the "first to be played in the Northwest" (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/16).