Thats no knock on anyone in the field of 315 who will come to the sandhills of central North Carolina in two weeks to compete for amateur golfs national championship.
Instead, its a chance for some of sports stars of tomorrow to test themselves on the same Donald Ross-designed course where two U.S. Opens were decided and a third is scheduled, where Ben Hogan won his first professional tournament and the late Payne Stewart captured his last.
Its always got so much tradition, local qualifier Jack Fields said Wednesday. Any time youre playing a course where theyve had U.S. Opens, its a great experience. Definitely, playing out here is different than playing most courses. A different kind of experience.
Pinehurst has long been one of the USGAs favorite sites to determine one of its champions, having previously played host to eight of its championship events, including U.S. Opens won by Stewart in 1999 and by Michael Campbell in 2005. The 1994 U.S. Senior Open was held here, and so was the U.S. Womens Amateur in 89.
But only once before, in 1962, has the U.S. Amateur been contested at the club where anyone can sign up for a tee time.
Amateur golf sits at the core of Pinehursts being, said Tom Pashley, the resorts vice president for marketing. Its the heartbeat that pumps life into our facility. Hosting the U.S. Amateur reminds us of the fundamental value as an ambassador of golf as a lifelong game.
The tournament begins Aug. 18 with two days of stroke play on both No. 2 and another Ross course, the No. 4 that was redesigned in 1999 by Tom Fazio. The five rounds of match play will be contested on the 101-year-old No. 2, the site of the 2014 U.S. Open.