banner
Caulton Tudor

No. 2 Course should suit Bubba to a tee

Posted April 14

— Brandel Chamblee, the Golf Channel analyst, once described Pinehurst No. 2 as “Augusta National on steroids.”

Those words have to be music to the ears of Bubba Watson, whose big-bang tee shots and innovative shot-making talents opened the door to Augusta’s Butler Cabin and his second Masters championship Sunday afternoon.

The Pinehurst No. 2 layout that Watson and his fellow qualifiers will face June 12-15 in the North Carolina sandhills will so closely resemble Augusta that he should have a better-than-even chance to pull off one of the sport’s rare doubles of winning the Masters and the US Open in the same year.
Ben Hogan did it twice (1951 and ’53). Jack Nicklaus did it in 1972, Arnold Palmer in 1960, Tiger Woods in 2002 and Craig Wood in 1941.

Watson is prone to inconsistent scoring numbers, but there’s good reason to believe No. 2 will be a near-perfect match for his skills.

Unlike most Open courses, No. 2 will not be unnecessarily tight. But at about 7,500 yards, it’ll be so long that some of the leading shorter, more accurate drivers are likely to face an ongoing game of catch-up off the tees.

Augusta played roughly 7,400 yards in dry, sometimes windy conditions last week.

But keep in mind that Augusta has a few rolling hills and water hazards on three back-9 holes. No. 2 is among the flattest championship courses in the world, is basically water free and unlikely to be windswept in mid-June. Watson should be able to play lock and load most of the time.

The fairway bunkers will create more trouble than when Payne Stewart won at 1-under in 1999 and Michael Campbell at even par in 2005. But Stewart won on a 7,175-yard course and Campbell won when the yardage was 7,220.

A recently completed restoration project, headed by Ben Crenshaw and Bil Coore, focused on bringing back some of the same shot lines introduced by Donald Ross in the early 1900s.

Compared to Merion last season, where Watson tied for 32nd and Olympic in 2012 (missed cut), he’ll be able to hit the big pink driver much more often.

After the Masters, Watson’s average driving distance of 315.4 yards increased by almost a full yard over close contenders Dustin Johnson (309.1), Scott Piercy (307) and Nicola Colsaerts.

The oldest adage in the sport is “drive for show and putt for dough.” That’s still true in large part, but length obviously is more important on a 7,500-yard course than the average PGA Tour stops.

“When he has wedge, he can go fire at some pins and be able to stop it,” Luke Donald said of Watson. “If he’s hitting wedge and other guys are hitting 8-irons or more, there’s an advantage.”

The early odds favor Rory McIlory, still injured Tiger Woods and Adam Scott at 10-to-1. Watson is in a group at 25-1 that includes Jason Day and Matt Kuchar.

But if Watson can hit the same tee shots at Pinehurst that he did at Augusta, 25-1 could be a deal.

11 Comments

This blogpost is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • baldchip Apr 15, 2:11 p.m.

    Bubba and Pinehurst-well-the names just don't seem comparable. Yet, Bubba's game is on right now! He is a great representative of the game-and a great rather figure!!

    His persona reminds me of Tom Watson's-it's all about the good of the game!!

  • PDC - 1996 Apr 15, 1:21 p.m.

    Nice read, but hang on here: Pinehurst will be tighter than Augusta and the rough will be much more punitive...and that takes driver out of the bag on many holes...I respect Bubba's game and had a blast watching him win this weekend, but I don't think we'll see him contend at the Open.

  • vt94hokies Apr 14, 6:39 p.m.

    Totally happy that Bubba won another green jacket. His emotions really was out there. I loved seeing him hug his caddy, wife and son. He high fived all that he could. I would like to see Phil complete a grand slam in Pinehurst.

  • AliceBToklas Apr 14, 5:17 p.m.

    Bobby Jones? Seems he won both in one year.

    — Posted by jmcdow2792

    Are you serious? You need to learn a bit more about The Masters.

  • Objective Scientist Apr 14, 5:08 p.m.

    I've got the "fat finger" typo syndrome today! That should have been "...statue of HIM"... not home!

  • Objective Scientist Apr 14, 5:05 p.m.

    Yeah... you caught me on that one HAMMERHEAD. After hitting "ADD COMMENT", then reading my post after it appeared... I quickly saw the typo in my second sentence! My intention was "prognosticate", not "prognostic". Although prognostic could be correct with a re-wording of the sentence. Nevertheless, I am not prognosticating... I have my tickets and will be there to see first hand who does what! Regardless of who does it... a finish like that of Payne Stewart would be good. I was fortunate enough to be on the edge of the 18th when he made that 15-16 foot putt to win, and struck the pose that is now a statue of home next to the clubhouse at Pinehurst.

  • ncguy Apr 14, 4:38 p.m.

    I was pulling for Spieth
    Classy kid and wanted him to take youngest to win from tiger

  • Hammerhead Apr 14, 4:13 p.m.

    This far out from the first tee shot on Pinehurst #2 and talk is about a group of guys being... View More

    — Posted by Objective Scientist

    Or prognosticate even.

  • Objective Scientist Apr 14, 3:57 p.m.

    This far out from the first tee shot on Pinehurst #2 and talk is about a group of guys being favored at 10-1 and another group, including Watson, favored at 25-1. At this point trying to prognostic who will be hot in ~2 months from now... is as futile as trying to "spit into a strong wind". Pinehurst #2 is indeed a formidable golf course, especially since it has been restored to a very similar condition as it was several decades ago. Unique challenges will vary from the length to lies on thick beds of long-leaf pine needles to waste sand areas to the infamous wire-grass to incredibly fast, upside down yet undulating greens with "false-fronts" all around. Don't be surprised to see guys using putters from 20+ yards off the greens. I learned the game on that type of #2 course... and it requires that you be capable of using every club in the bag in a huge variety of shots. Who will be "at the top of their game" in Pinehurst... at this point NO ONE KNOWS! Pontificate all you want!!!

  • jmcdow2792 Apr 14, 2:45 p.m.

    Bobby Jones? Seems he won both in one year.

More...

 

 

  • The Logan Zone

    Tomorrow at 11:30 am on WRAL-TV

  • NHL: Hurricanes at Colorado

    Tonight at 9:00 on 99.9 The Fan

  • CBB: Duke vs. Stanford

    Tonight at 9:30 on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NCCU 21
NCA 14
 
Final
DAVID 72
UNC 90
Final
ECU 34
TULA 6
 
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CAR
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
STAN
2nd
ORL 31
MIA 32
 
2nd
IND 31
PHO 43
 
1st
NYK 9
PHI 4
 
1st
CLE 6
TOR 0
 
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
DAL
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
SAC
8:30pm Tonight
SAN
BRK
8:30pm Tonight
MIL
WAS
9:00pm Tonight
UTA
NOP
Final
UGA 55
CHSO 9
 
Final
UF 52
EKU 3
Final
OSU 42
IND 27
Final
OKLA 44
KU 7
 
Final
UAB 18
MARS 23
Final
NEB 24
MINN 28
 
Final
PURD 14
NW 38
 
Final
ILL 16
PSU 14
Final
MSU 45
RUTG 3
 
Final
UCF 53
SMU 7
 
Final
SCAR 37
SALABAMA 12
Final
WKENT 45
TXSANANTO 7
 
Final
WAKE 6
VT 3
 
Final
ODU 30
LATU 27
 
Final
ARST 52
WASU 31
 
Final
CMICH 20
WMICH 32
 
Final
COLST 58
NMU 20
Final
LALAF 16
APPST 35
 
Final
BST 45
EMICH 30
 
Final
HOU 38
TULSA 28
Final
UTAH 10
ARZ 42
 
Final
FSU 20
BC 17
 
Final
UNT 17
FIU 14
 
Final
CLEM 28
GASTATE 0
 
Final
ND 28
LOU 31
 
Final
MICH 16
MD 23
 
Final
ARK 30
MISS 0
 
Final
PITT 30
SYR 7
 
Final
ISU 31
TTU 34
 
Final
ECU 34
TULA 6
 
Final
IOWA 24
WISC 26
 
Final
MEM 31
SFLA 20
 
Final
CAL 17
STAN 38
 
Final
NMST 17
LAMON 30
 
Final
ALA 48
WCAR 14
 
Final
OREG 44
COL 10
 
2nd
MTST 7
FATL 17
 
2nd
UVA 0
MIAMI 7
 
2nd
AUB 0
SAMF 0
 
1st
TENN 0
MIZZ 7
 
1st
BAY 14
OKST 0
 
1st
MSST 0
VANDY 0
 
8:00pm Tonight
UCONN
CIN
8:00pm Tonight
UCLA
USC
10:15pm Tonight
WYO
BSU
10:30pm Tonight
NEV
FRES
10:30pm Tonight
WASH
ORST
11:00pm Tonight
HAW
UNLV
Final
PRIN 68
INCWORD 79
 
Final
UMASS 68
ND 81
 
Final
GEOR 80
RMU 66
 
Final
LAS 59
PETE 50
 
Final
VT 63
APP 65
 
Final
IUPUI 71
BST 69
 
Final
WMICH 91
DRAK 75
 
Final
RICH 80
HIGH 56
 
Final
MSST 71
UTST 63
 
Final
CAMP 48
COL 53
 
Final
DAVID 72
UNC 90
Final
NIOWA 66
UNF 49
 
Final
CSNO 79
SAMF 72
 
Final
YALE 61
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
NEV 50
CLEM 59
 
Final
PROV 80
FSU 54
 
Final
MARQ 89
NEOM 97
 
Final
DET 66
SALA 53
 
Final
TXSA 80
TXST 67
 
Final
CHIST 75
TRINCHRIS 52
 
Final
UMO 63
LIB 52
 
Final
BONA 59
CAN 53
 
Final
SAV 87
CLST 83
 
Final
NW 68
ELON 67
 
Final
RFLSH 57
MDES 53
 
Final
CARK 68
SEMIZ 74
 
Final
AFA 90
WSCO 60
 
Final
YOUNG 82
LONG 72
 
Final
MTST 66
SOUTH 48
 
Final
ARKLR 73
UMKC 68
 
Final
ABCHRIST 81
DUQ 102
 
Final
WEBER 58
LSU 72
 
Final
BUT 80
GHND 39
 
Final
CSFU 70
SJST 66
 
Final
WOFF 72
SD 68
 
Final
NORST 76
TXSOU 66
 
Final
COOK 42
TOWS 63
 
Final
SILL 46
YALE 53
 
Final
KNST 83
ALCOR 80
 
Final
MAN 78
BING 63
 
Final
JVST 88
MILES 71
 
Final
CSOU 79
WRST 86
 
Final
CITA 81
BOBJONES 50
 
2nd
INDST 65
BRO 56
 
Final
WYO 56
COL 33
 
2nd
GSOUT 82
FCCOL 33
 
2nd
CCAR 74
PIED 30
 
Half
LATU 34
AMER 23
 
1st
MAR 37
ARMY 30
 
1st
TENT 19
CHAT 27
 
1st
EKENT 52
CLERMONT 22
 
Half
SMU 43
EWASH 35
 
1st
NIAG 19
HART 23
 
1st
PENN 26
LAF 39
 
Half
UCSB 47
MASTERS 22
 
1st
BUCK 29
MNTER 30
 
1st
VMI 40
UNCW 40
 
1st
RIU 19
NEB 18
 
1st
NKENTUCKY 46
OHMWSTRN 13
 
1st
GTDNS 25
QUIN 9
 
1st
EMICH 28
UNCG 19
 
1st
ETST 38
UNCA 32
 
1st
TEMPL 20
UNLV 19
 
1st
STJOE 18
VERM 22
 
1st
MON 10
CCST 12
 
1st
KSU 13
ILLCH 7
 
1st
FAIR 20
SHSU 13
 
1st
LIP 5
TRANSYLVAN 9
 
1st
FUR 6
UCD 5
 
8:00pm Tonight
WKENT
BEL
8:00pm Tonight
NDST
HAMP
 
8:00pm Tonight
IND
LAM
 
8:00pm Tonight
TTU
MIZST
8:00pm Tonight
HOU
MRGST
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAVY
NE
8:00pm Tonight
ALAAM
OAKW
 
8:00pm Tonight
WILL
SELA
 
8:00pm Tonight
TULA
SONO
 
8:00pm Tonight
TXPA
A
 
8:00pm Tonight
RICE
WMARY
8:30pm Tonight
TXARL
HOUB
 
8:30pm Tonight
MINN
UMBC
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
NMST
 
9:00pm Tonight
GONZ
STTHOM
9:00pm Tonight
SUTAH
WLVRN
 
9:30pm Tonight
PBY
MORE
9:30pm Tonight
DUKE
STAN
10:00pm Tonight
WISC
BSU
10:00pm Tonight
PORT
SIUE
Final
OTT 2
STL 3
 
1st Intermission
WAS 0
BUF 0
 
1st Intermission
PHI 2
CLB 1
 
1st
TOR 1
DET 0
 
1st Intermission
TAM 0
MIN 0
 
1st
BOS 0
MON 1
 
1st Intermission
NYI 0
PIT 1
 
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
FLA
8:00pm Tonight
DAL
LOS
9:00pm Tonight
COL
CAR
10:00pm Tonight
EDM
CHI
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
NJD
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
ARI
Final
NCCU 21
NCA 14