PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) — From the thick grassy clumps waiting to swallow badly hit balls to the plants growing hip-high, Pinehurst No. 2 looks a lot rougher than the last time the U.S. Open was played here.
There are no thick swaths of high grass surrounding the fairways and greens this year, just rough areas featuring enough natural growth in places to look like an untended yard.
Two-time Open champion Curtis Strange called them ”weeds” and says there are spots where it will be difficult to find balls.
Danesha Seth Carley, an assistant professor of crop science at North Carolina State University, assisted on the course’s restoration project. She said most of the plant species are native, making them easier to grow while needing less water for maintenance.