U.S. Open Preview

Photos: The Real Pinehurst

June 2014
This will be the 30th consecutive U.S. Open I've covered, and it's neat that it happens to be in Pinehurst, N.C., on the wonderful No. 2 Course. This is not just a minor milestone for me as a golf journalist but a homecoming, too. I was born in Pinehurst and grew up in nearby Southern Pines. My parents hailed from Jackson Springs, a crossroads now but a popular destination in the early part of the 20th century because of the mineral water people sought for its restorative qualities. The Sandhills area has changed a lot since I was a kid in the 1960s and 1970s -- more people, more chain stores -- but there are aspects that are timeless. As a native, when I go back I can find things that are very much the way they were. I returned recently to some familiar spots and -- for me -- some new ones to capture some scenes that you probably won't see on the national television broadcast of the Open.  Then and now, it's a special place.
Pinehurst area essay
Everyone used to come to the Sandhills area by train, and some people still do. You can leave New York before noon and arrive in Southern Pines before midnight. That's the Amtrak Silver Star pulling into town.
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