Pine Needles ranks high among golf writers and U.S. Women's Open competitors
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. - Having two writers here covering the women’s Open - it’s like Harry and Sally, he-said, she-said, yin and yang. He likes the media tent’s bottled soda, I prefer the media tent’s beef brisket. He’s played Oakmont, I’ve played Pine Needles.
But there’s one thing Brandon Tucker and I agree on: Pine Needles deserves full marks, not just in terms of better scenery, but also playability. When it’s not hosting the U.S. Women’s Open for the third time, it’s a great course for all levels - even clowns like myself.
But I’m not the only one who loves this course. The players are raving about it. Grace Park describes the course as “Extremely awesome. The course is in perfect shape. The greens are getting firmer and faster, there’s no doubt there, but for now they’re perfect. It’s the U.S. Open, so it’s tougher than the average LPGA setup, that’s expected. But the conditions here are really nice right now.”
She may not have to worry too much about those greens - today’s practice round came to a premature end as the course was evacuated for a thunderstorm, and the rain is continuing to fall. That should keep those greens nice and soft for tomorrow’s opening round.
And the greens - that’s where this Donald Ross classic carries its sting. It’s not in the rough, which recent major winner Suzann Pettersen described today as “patchy, so you can still get a good lie if you hit a bad shot.” Like many of Ross’s designs, Pine Needles features plenty of those impossible-to-hold false-fronted, turtle-backed greens. Says her swing coach Gary Gilchrist, “It all depends on how fast they get those greens - that’ll determine the difficulty.”
Fans like the classics here too?perhaps that’s why the largest gallery today was reserved for Annika Sorenstam. Wie and Creamer had their share of autograph-seekers, but ask anyone who they were here to watch, and the answer was always the same: Annika.
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I bet he is looking for a job right now? Maybe he could head up the Wie Golf Academy? ROTFLMAO