Pinehurst No. 2 has hosted two previous U.S. Opens, in 1999 and in 2005. There’s no Tiger Woods in this week’s field at the U.S. Open, but there are plenty of storylines to go around as our national championship returns to Pinehurst for the third time in 16 years.
It's a whole new course
Pinehurst has been “restored” to its original character, which means traditional U.S. Open rough will be replaced by expanses of sandy soil native to this part of North Carolina.
Longest Par fours, U.S. Open History
The course has also been lengthened – it will play 348 yards longer than it did in 2005 and will feature four par 4s that will be over 500 yards on the scorecard.
This makes it the third longest course in U.S. Open history, and the fourth hole (529 yards) and 16th hole (528 yards) are the two longest par fours in the event’s history.
Another first-time major winner, perhaps an American?
First-time major winners have been the norm over the last five years at this event.
That’s the most consecutive first-time major winners at the U.S. Open since we had five in a row from 1992-96. If the streak grows to six this year, it would match the longest such streak in U.S. Open history.
Meanwhile, it’s also been good to be an American at the majors lately. The last three major winners (Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson) are from the United States, and an American winner at Pinehurst would make it four straight for the first time since 2003-04.
Look out on Sunday
If we’ve learned anything at the U.S. Open in recent years, it’s that the 54-hole leader is no sure bet to win. In fact, over the last nine U.S. Opens, only a pair of winners held the outright lead after 54 holes.
54-Hole Leader at U.S. Open
Last five Years
In that same span, four eventual champions came from at least three shots back entering the final round.
Over the last five years, the players who held at least a share of the 54-hole lead were a combined +26 in the final round.
In that stretch, only Rory McIlroy (69 in final round en route to win in 2011) broke par in the final round.