USGA says No. 2 is set for week two
In the months, even years, leading up to Pinehurst No. 2 welcoming both U.S. Opens on consecutive weeks, the survival and playability of the course for the second week - the U.S. Women's Open - has been a constant topic and concern.
The proof, with temperatures right around 100 forecast for today and tomorrow, will play out for four rounds beginning this morning.
On Wednesday in the media center at Pinehurst, USGA officials said they were confident and well pleased in the state of Pinehurst No. 2 and its central role in determining its second national champion and the success of the back-to-back U.S. Opens.
"The golf course is in absolutely magnificent condition," said USGA championship chairman Dan Burton.
Working from the greens back, "the greens are rolling probably as good as any championship, both this week and last week, that we've had for many, many years," Burton said.
Ben Kimball, USGA director of the U.S. Women's Open Championship, said the last stimpmeter report he'd received put the greens at "middle to upper 12s."
"Mid 12s" was the report on the day prior to the men's Open's first round.
"As far as hole locations," Kimball said, "part of the test of golf is we wanted to see how the women do at the same hole locations that the men are playing to."
The pin placements will mostly be "a pace or two paces" from where the four locations were last Thursday-Sunday.
The greens were watered, just enough, Kimball said. After Sunday's play, the greens got three four-minute cycles each and get drinks on a nightly basis.
It's the right amount, he said, to leave the same speed yet "manage firmness properly throughout the course of the week."
"The green surrounds where there will be a lot of chipping are absolutely pristine and the fairways are in excellent shape, as well," Burton said.
Having Pinehurst No. 2 play the same for the men and the women - with a prime example being the men and women, on average, hitting similar approach shots into greens - has been a goal throughout.
"We are confident that we have gotten this right on paper," Kimball said, "but due to the architectural nature of Pinehurst No. 2, we're not going to be perfect in every area, on every shot."
The course will be listed at 6,649 yards, about 900 yards shorter than the men's Open, and at the same par 70.
"I think it's important to note that we did not utilize the maximum yardage on the card for any single round for the U.S. Open Championship last week," Kimball said.
He said the same would be the case for the Women's Open, specifically mentioning holes four, 11, 16, 17 and 18.
"The golf course is in phenomenal shape," Kimball said. "It's happy. It's healthy. It's ready to go. We're certainly looking forward to a great week and crowning our national champion."