North Carolina’s Pinehurst No. 2 will host two U.S. Opens this June, showcasing a different kind of setup than is seen in most U.S. Open set up by the USGA. Thanks to a restoration by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, No. 2 has no rough. The design duo went back to the site’s original plans and removed irrigation from the course’s “non-fairway” zones, revealing a light, sandy soil native to the region strewn with small, stubborn tufts of wiregrass. The visual contrast of the “new” roughs with the emerald fairways is stunning and the playability of the course is now similar to how it was 90 years ago. Coore explains how this radical look will affect play for the game’s best competitors:
“The uncertainty of shots that are going to be played from those native roughs, we think, is going to be one of the most interesting stories of this championship,” Coore said. “I think for viewers and people in attendance here, the spectrum of shots that you will see in approaches to greens from players who miss the fairways will be literally from the alpha to the omega. That in itself will add a degree of excitement that we don’t associate with the U.S. Open,” Coore says.
Hunter Mahan, who played in the final group at last year’s U.S. Open at Merion, previewed Pinehurst No. 2 recently and says “It’s very old school and it looks very natural. It’s supposed to play this way. It’s supposed to be a second-shot golf course. The USGA is going to have fun with this set up, but they don’t have to do too much. It’s going to be challenging thinking (my way) around this course.”