Peter Kostis, Gary McCord explain the ‘genius’ of Pinehurst No. 2

As the best players in golf get set to take on the challenge of Pinehurst No. 2 this week for the 2024 U.S. Open, it seems all anyone can talk about is the greens.

But Peter Kostis and Gary McCord, the titular hosts of Kostis & McCord: Off Their Rockers” podcast, a GOLF production, believe it’s those very greens that are the “genius” of Donald Ross’ design at No. 2.

“I played here with my dad 100 years ago,” Kostis joked. “My dad was a 15 handicapper. We both miss the green in the same place. He would take a putter, whack it up, whack it up the 20ft, two-putt and make a score or whatever.

“I’m sitting there and I’m going through all kinds of iterations of what shot I can hit to try and get it close,” he continued. “It’s easy to make bogeys and it’s very difficult to make pars if you miss the greens. I think that’s the genius of his design here.”

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McCord explained that those decisions are the one thing a pro doesn’t want to have to do toward the end of an event.

“They are comfortably numb at that particular point,” McCord, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour Champions, said. “And do I pitch it against the hill, against the Bermuda grain? Do I run it up with a putter? Do I flop it and have the chance to roll it back past where I was going the other way?”

This is when Kostis thought back on his decades of experience as one of the game’s best instructors.

He explained that the first sign of pressure isn’t poor execution but in fact poor decision-making. With so many opportunities for decisions at Pinehurst No. 2, there are also plenty of opportunities for bad ones.

“Architecture these days, the examination isn’t about decisions as much as it’s going to be here at Pinehurst, especially in the short game area you’re going to be faced with, Oh, do I do this? Do I do that?” Kostis explained. “Maybe I’ll try this. And if you and if you walk in there and you’re not committed to your decision and you haven’t made the right decision, double bogeys and triple bogeys are a snap of the fingers away.”

For more from Kostis and McCord, check out their entire U.S. Open preview episode below.

Jack Hirsh Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at