Pinehurst No. 2
Posted June 17, 1999 7:00 a.m. EDT
PINEHURST — Can you imagine the feeling of coming to the 18th tee Sunday with a shot at winning theU.S. Open? For today'sDream 18, WRAL's Jeff Gravley decided to take the walk all the way to the back tees of the 18th hole where the pros tee off.
It is a 447-yard trip to the green with a fairway surrounded by U.S. Open rough, which you will only see this week atPinehurst No. 2.
"I've played out here many times, and if you hit it a little bit off line this way or that way, you're in the rough," says course pro Kelly Mitchum, "but it's not very penalizing, so now when players step up on the tee and they see the rough, they go 'Wow, I've got to make sure to drive it in the fairway.'"
Jeff did not drive it in the fairway, and he paid for it, twice. One ball landed in the right rough, another -- that he never found -- in the left love grass. Trouble off the tee on the 18th makes scoring a chore because the major challenges of Pinehurst No. 2 are around the greens.
"It's just another one of those typical upside-down saucer greens that makes a shot that's not right on run off the edge and leave one of those chip shots that you've got 15 different way of playing," Mitchum said.
The collars of the greens are mowed so tightly that you can either chip it, bump and run it, or follow Mitchum's example and putt it within inches of the hole for par.
Jeff psyched himself out about the speed of the greens, and left his bogey putt short.
It is an experience to tee it up at the famed course and there are money-saving hotel packages you can buy. However, if you were to just walk up and ask for a tee time at No. 2 - that will be $275 dollars please.
Jeff should not feel too bad. Thursday's stroke average on 18 was above par, and pro Rocco Mediate, who was tied for the lead, double bogeyed the last hole, just like Jeff. Reporter:Jeff Gravley