Pinehurst Receives High Marks At Conclusion Of Hosting Back-To-Back U.S. Opens
Pinehurst No. 2 was the "real winner" after it hosted the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in back-to-back weeks, with yesterday marking the "end of a 14-day stretch that felt like a month," according to Steve Eubanks in a special to the Southern Pines PILOT. Pinehurst "proved to be the perfect test for this back-to-back experiment" by the USGA, and "praise was almost universal." Perhaps the "happiest man of all was the one who came up with the idea in the first place," former USGA Exec Dir David Fay. He said, "It went better than I expected. I think it's been an unqualified success." Eubanks writes those who "saw both opens in person had nothing but praise for the look, feel and durability of the course." Fay "isn’t so sure the back-to-back thing will ever happen again, but since he no longer has to worry about logistics or operations, as a fan he would love to see it" (Southern Pines PILOT, 6/23). USGA VP & Championship Committee Chair Dan Burton said, "If you let me write a script about how I would dream it to go, that’s how it went. Just an absolutely wonderful two weeks, great golf. I think we achieved every objective we could have possibly set out to enumerate" (Southern Pines PILOT, 6/23). Golf Channel's Annika Sorenstam said the USGA "did a terrific job of putting these tournaments together." There was a "lot of speculation early, a lot of criticism and concern how the good is going to hold up," but the USGA "did an excellent job." Golf Channel's Damon Hack said, "I didn’t hear one peep about … the course not being ready for the women." Golf blogger Geoff Shackelford: "I can't really imagine it could have gone any better. ... I really do hope this sets us up for another one these" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 6/23).
DOUBLE DIP: GOLF.com's weekly roundtable discussed the back-to-back Opens. Golf.com's Eamon Lynch said, "I'm not sure we'll see another double bill like this anytime soon, but here's hoping the setup and course conditioning are regular features going forward." Golf magazine's Josh Sens added, "Great fun to watch the women and men take on the same track back to back, and a good way to shine a brighter light on the women's game." SI's Gary Van Sickle: "Did more people watch the Women's Open because it was after the men's? I don't know, but I didn't get that feeling." Golf magazine's Jessica Marksbury added, "I can't imagine a better outcome. I actually hope another back-to-back doubleheader is in the works sometime in the next decade." Golf magazine's Joe Passov: "The women received more attention than ever. ... I didn't succumb to Pinehurst burnout as I thought I might, and the course held up beautifully" (GOLF.com, 6/22). GOLFCHANNEL.com's Rex Hoggard wrote the decision to hold back-to-back Opens was "not only doable but it was an inspired choice." It "may not be the best idea at many venues, but at Pinehurst it seems to have been the perfect one" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 6/22).