June 23, 2014
The News & Observer – By Chip Alexander and Luke DeCock
It was hard to say who had the biggest smile Sunday, Michelle Wie or the U.S. Golf Association and Pinehurst resort officials seated about her on the 18th green.
Wie’s victory in the U.S. Women’s Open capped what was billed as a “celebration of golf,” a two-week undertaking unlike anything ever attempted by the USGA or Pinehurst. But by almost any measure, the playing of the U.S. Open and U.S Women’s Open in back-to-back weeks on Pinehurst No. 2 went as smoothly – and the USGA believes, successfully – as anyone could have anticipated.
Mike Davis, the USGA’s executive director, said before the U.S. Open started that the two-week run wouldn’t be perfect. But it came pretty close.
Martin Kaymer of Germany was a worthy U.S. Open champion, winning by eight shots. Wie’s two-shot victory Sunday came despite a late charge by Stacy Lewis. The 24-year-old Wie was beaming as she smooched the Women’s Open trophy under a late-afternoon sun.
“We had two great champions,” Pinehurst owner Bob Dedman said Sunday. “They’re both young, and they played phenomenal golf.”
It was Dedmon who gave the USGA the go-ahead to hold the two Opens at Pinehurst when David Fay, the former USGA executive director, first pitched the idea about five years ago. Dedman then approved a restoration of Pinehurst No. 2 by former Masters champion Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore that replaced grassy Bermuda rough with sandy waste areas, love grass and native vegetation, giving the famed course more of the brown, rustic and retro look intended when first designed by Donald Ross. The work was completed in March 2011.
“From all the coverage we’ve gotten it seems to be universally received from a positive standpoint, so we’re happy about that,” Dedman said. “Wow, two special weeks of golf. It’s a beautiful day in Pinehurst. It can’t get any better than this for me.”