The Hall’s “Great Moments in North Carolina Sports History” series in 2014 honored the creation of Pinehurst Resort and construction of the legendary No. 2 golf course. This recognition is especially appropriate given that No. 2 made history last June when in consecutive weeks the men’s and women’s U.S. Opens were contested on its immaculate fairways and diabolical greens.
Pinehurst’s origins date to 1895, which is when Boston soda fountain magnate James Walker Tufts arrived in the mostly barren Sandhills with an eye toward building an affordable health resort for the working class. Soon after he hired a young Scot named Donald Ross to build him a few golf courses, from which No. 2 – yes, the second course Ross designed on the property for Tufts – was created.
As the resort grew, so did the reputations of both No. 2 and Ross. While the N.C. Sports Hall of Fame member would go on design more than 600 courses in a remarkable career, it is No. 2 that usually is preceded or followed by these words: “Donald Ross’s masterpiece.”
While many around the world today may know of No. 2 for its hosting of the 1999 and 2005 men’s U.S. Opens – the former won on a dark, misty Father’s Day in scintillating fashion by the late Payne Stewart – the course long has been a venue for major championship golf.
From 1902 to 1951, it was the home of the North & South Open, which was one of the most prestigious events in the United States at the time (Ben Hogan’s first victory as a professional was in the 1940 North & South). And Pinehurst is still home to the annual North & South Amateur Golf Championships, a series of tournaments that crowns both men’s and women’s champions.
The first major championship staged at Pinehurst was the PGA Championship in 1936. Fifteen years later, the Home of American Golf became the home of golf in the world with the playing of the Ryder Cup. And in 1991 and 1992, No. 2 hosted an at-the-time fledging event known as the Tour Championship.
In the course of a century, Pinehurst has grown from humble beginnings into one of the preeminent golf resorts in the world. In particular, few courses have the history and heritage of No. 2, built upon year after year through not just storied golf championships but through the stories passed down from generations of golfers and fans of the game that have had the privilege of walking in the footsteps of greatness. Through the Hall’s honoring of the decision to build No. 2, we show our appreciation of the fame and acclaim the course has brought our state.
The “Great Moments” series debuted in 2011. Previous honorees include the 1957 North Carolina Tar Heels’ undefeated national championship men’s basketball team (2011); track star Jim Beatty’s 1962 sub-four minute indoor mile run (2012); the Carolina Hurricanes’ 2006 Stanley Cup championship (2012); N.C. State’s hiring in 1946 of Everett Case as its men’s basketball coach (2013); and the Wolfpack’s 1974 men’s basketball national championship team (2013).