VILLAGE OF PINEHURST, N.C. -- The restoration of Pinehurst No. 2 in 2011 has only enhanced the allure of this Donald Ross original.
The minimalist team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw tastefully bowed to history by replacing 26 acres of rough with sandy, hardpan waste areas filled with pine needles and hand-planted wiregrass. They used aerial photos from the nearby Tufts Archives as their guide, creating a visually stimulating, more strategic course, ready for the back-to-back U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open in June.
Over the years, Pinehurst No. 2 has hosted the 1999 and 2005 U.S. Opens, the 1991 and 1992 PGA Tour championships, the 1951 Ryder Cup, the 1938 PGA Championship and countless prestigious amateur events. All the changes have added incredible intrigue to this latest chapter.
Wider fairways will play firmer and faster, where shots off-line could sit up nicely on the pine straw (still no bargain) or nestle down into a mischievous lie.
Eight new tees added less than 100 yards in length, although one will transform the signature par-4 fifth hole into an epic par 5 for the Open.
The signature of Pinehurst No. 2 -- the untouched inverted saucer greens -- are as perplexing and dangerous as ever. You're bound to see a handful of the best players in the world putt the ball off the greens at some point, a regular occurrence for the members.
"From 100 yards and in, it's unbelievable," Pinehurst member Dave Eskie said. "You hit a nice iron shot and watch the ball roll in a bunker. It's old school."