He started out in golf as a caddy, earning handfuls of change as a boy. Decades later, Charlie Sifford was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame, after a career marked by talent, character and the drive to change his sport. Sifford, the first black golfer to hold a PGA Tour card, has died at age 92.

Katherine Perry
UNC Women's Golf

Katherine Perry never won a tournament when she was on scholarship for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's women's golf team. But she's made it through the first two phases of the LPGA Qualifying School. Today is the start of the third and final phase. If Perry is one of the top 20 women, she will earn a spot on the LPGA Tour.

Charlotte native Charlie Sifford was the first African-American to earn a PGA tour card. On Monday, President Obama honored Sifford with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Obama said Sifford is one of the country’s “trailblazers who bent the arc of our nation toward justice.”

Willie McRae (right) with reporter Dick Gordon.
Carol Jackson

Pinehurst No. 2 is one of the most revered courses in the land. It was designed by Donald Ross, who called it “the fairest test of championship golf I have ever designed.” That course is the site of this week's U.S. Open.

Willie McRae knows the place about as intimately as anyone. Willie is the longest-serving caddy at the resort. He started working there when he was 10 years old, May 19, 1943. He's caddied for "the average Joe" and the world's elite.

And he has a lot of stories to tell.

Many of the best golfers in the world are in Pinehurst, North Carolina, today for the start of the U.S. Open. The match will played on the recently restored course Pinehurst No. 2.

Fifteen years ago, a golfer named Payne Stewart won the tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., but died in a plane crash just four months later.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Jeff Tiberii of WUNC reports from Pinehurst.

Michael Campbell reacts to winning the 2005 U.S. Open held at the Pinehurst Resort No. 2 Course in Pinehurst, N.C., Sunday, June 19, 2005.
John Mummert / USGA

The U.S. Open begins at the Pinehurst No. 2 golf course today. WUNC’s Jeff Tiberii is covering the event.

A statue of Payne Stewart is next to the 18th green at Pinehurst No. 2, where the 114th US Open is taking place this week. Stewart won the 1999 US Open at Pinehurst, and struck this pose after clinching the win.
Jeff Tiberii

Overlooking the 18th hole at Pinehurst No. 2 is a statue of a man. He’s standing on one leg, a putter dangling in his left hand and a right fist extended straight forward, in victory. The statue preserves a moment now 15 years-old. It’s a moment more famous than any other that this course has seen, since it opened in 1907.

In his trademark knickers, Payne Stewart won the event on that misty Father’s day with a 15-foot birdie putt on the final hole. He kissed his wife Tracy and celebrated his second US Open win.