The USGA says Pinehurst No. 2 will be basically the same course that it was in 1999, when the U.S. Open was last held there. "Gorjus" George Lucas, who first mapped No. 2 in the 1970s, begs to differ. He says many significant changes have been made. Here are eight that really jump out at him.
2 - A new tee makes the hole 23 yards longer, but the big hitters will still go with a three-wood off the tee, while most of the other players will hit driver with only a six- or seven-iron in.
5 - This is the best change. The shaved-down hollow left of the green was widened from 10 to 22 yards. Approach shots that are a smidgen too far left will funnel down into the death pit.
7 - The biggest change visually. The small fairway bunker on the left was replaced with a trio of five-foot-high mounds. Players will aim at the mounds and cut the ball to the fairway.
10 - Most of the tees used to be long, continuous runways. Now they've been sliced into sections. The second-shot layup area is now four yards narrower.
11 - The fairway is four yards narrower on the left, and the tee is back 31 yards, so everyone will have to hit driver. The left fairway bunker used to be a cinch to carry. Now it's in play.
12 - Shifting the entire fairway four yards to the right made the hole straighter. It also balanced the fairway bunkers. The right bunker used to be 10 yards off the fairway and out of play.
14 - Much tougher now. The fairway has been narrowed by four yards on the left, and a new tee adds 33 yards to the hole, bringing the right and left fairway bunkers back into play.
16 - The left side of the fairway is two yards narrower, and the right a yard wider, but the green on the converted par-5 is small and unreceptive to long shots. The hole is unfair as a par-4.
Pinehurst No. 2 will play at 7,214 yards, according to the U.S. Open program, but the players won't go by that. They'll use Gorjus George's yardages (below). Says Gorjus, "I measure from three yards up from the back cut of the tournament tee to the mayor's office [the center of the landing area] to the geometric center of the green." His figures from '99 show where the course has changed.
Lucas (with Woody) has made the tour pros' yardage books since 1976. He mapped No. 2 two weeks ago.
EIGHT COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS
ILLUSTRATIONS BY GEORGE LUCAS