Players set for Pinehurst's devilish greens at U.S. Open

Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:18pm EDT
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

PINEHURST North Carolina (Reuters) - Pinehurst's No. 2 Course is an aesthetic delight for this week's U.S. Open after its recent 'old school' restoration but its notorious turtle-back greens will continue to frustrate the players.

While the par-70 layout has been creatively restored to the initial specifications of its Scotland-born designer Donald Ross, recapturing its look from the 1930s and 1940s, approach shots will be as daunting as ever due to the domed greens.

"It's really a week where its teeth will show, I think it will be kind of a survival week," 2012 U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson told reporters at Pinehurst Resort on Wednesday.

"The character of the golf course and what makes it tough is still the same. It's the greens. On some of the holes you're not trying to hit the green. On 15, the par-three, a lot of guys will try to just hit it just short of the green.

"There will be some unique shots. You'll see a lot of different plays off the tee, a lot of different shots into the greens. I certainly see this course as hard as anything I've played in a U.S. Open."

Simpson, who clinched his only major title in the 2012 U.S. Open held at the Olympic Club outside San Francisco, knows Pinehurst as well as anyone else in the field, having grown up in nearby Raleigh.

He estimates that he has competed on the No. 2 Course at least 10 times in tournaments and he drove down to Pinehurst every weekend to play golf once he got his driver's license.

"I love Donald Ross, I love Pinehurst," smiled the 28-year-old American, who now lives in nearby Charlotte. "I'm excited the week is here and ready to tee it up tomorrow."   Continued...