It may be one of the premier golf meccas of North America, but Sandra Post believes that European women may prosper this week on Pinehurst No. 2, where German Martin Kaymer took the U.S. Open on Sunday by eight shots over the rest of the field.
Post, who won the 1968 LPGA Championship and was one of the runners-up to Sandra Palmer at the 1975 U.S. Women’s Open, says this week’s Open at Pinehurst presents enough of a links feel that it came as no surprise when Kaymer started putting from off the green.
“I believe in putting from the apron. I putt it from way back when there’s nothing there. I like to keep the ball on the ground whenever I can,” said Post of a tactic commonly used in links golf to deal with the seaside winds, instead of the turtleback greens at Pinehurst No. 2.
That could favour somebody such as Suzann Pettersen. On the other hand, a high ball hitter such as Inbee Park might excel on keeping her shots on the greens. Whoever does emerge as champion on Sunday will have had to have been in charge of her short game, for sure.
“There are a lot of kicks and rolls. You saw it with the men. You’re going to see it with the women. It’s very penal. You have a very small target to hit,” said Post, who has played at Pinehurst since the 1950s.
“It’s all about position. You might not hit driver off the tee, The fairways are so narrow. Your iron play, what a premium on that,” she said.
“I think the woman who is a high ball hitter will have a little bit of an advantage because it will land softly on the greens, but you’re going to have to be a wizard around the greens, just like the men,” said Post, noting that several LPGA Tour players were on hand for the final round of the men’s Open.
There was method to their attendance.
“They’re going to have to adapt very quickly. I’m not sure when they last played a course like that,” said Post.
“I think the women went in early because they got to walk inside the ropes. It was kind of fun, but they wanted to see first-hand, not just on television, how the men were handling it,” she said.
“All of them are friends and maybe some of the men gave them some tips, too. Who knows?” she added.
“You get in that native area, you’ve really got to know what to do with your golf ball. You’re going to have to be a shotmaker because you might have to make it up on the fly,” said Post, who points out that the men’s Open played out, for the most part, the way it should have.
Kaymer took control with a pair of 65s in the first two rounds, but kept control of his game on the weekend. However, as Post points out, there were only three players under par and two of those – Erik Compton and Rickie Fowler – finished at one under.
With only three players under par, it didn’t change much except for the look of the course, says Post, who, as many have speculated, has also heard that what we saw last week and will see this week may be coming back into fashion in golf.
“I’ve heard many courses that I have played that I may never see it like that again, especially the desert courses in Palm Springs, with the water shortage. We’re going to have to go to a lot more of those native areas,” said Post.
“I think it’s back to a linksy golf type of look. It think it’s fun. I think it’s great,” she said.
“I think golf is in for a bit of change very soon,” she added.