Travelers Championship

TPC River Highlands

course critters

U.S. Open 2024: Min Woo Lee confronts Pinehurst fox squirrel, lives to tell the tale


Sam Greenwood

It’s only Monday of U.S. Open week and things are already getting pretty squirrely. With the year's third major just a few days away, Min Woo Lee has been getting his reps in at Pinehurst No. 2. More importantly, though, he's become a David Attenborough of sorts, documenting the native wild fox squirrels native that inhabit the revered course.

The Australian seems bewildered by the Pinehurst critter, who gets a little too close for Lee's comfort.

“Hello, Pinehurst. What is this animal?” Lee asks. “Is it a skunk or a raccoon or a squirrel? Ayy ay ay ay ayy. Stay back, brother. Stay back. You want something? Look at his stance. Oi! Stay back, brother. I just want to get a side profile. Just chilling.”

These Pinehurst fox squirrels are known for their mischievous ways and are often at ease around people, despite most of the humans they encounter on the course frequently holding large clubs. Perhaps this was a kind welcome to the Aussie with Min Woo Lee’s first major at Pinehurst No. 2 on the way. Or maybe, it just smelled some granola in one of the golfer’s bags.

Either way, these animals have become a mascot for the area and even have their own merch.

These fellas really run the gamut in terms of appreciation with one Pinehurst commenter stating that they’re his favorite animal and another going the exact opposite way by saying, “I hate these little rats.” It seems like Min Woo Lee is cool with these fox squirrels for now, which is probably good karma. You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with this course’s varmints.