The Restored 10th Tee at Pebble Beach, and Other Potential Changes
Feb. 17, 2014
Pros playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am noticed the recently restored tee box while putting on the ninth green. Below is a picture of the ninth green (and a temporary green in front of it) while it was renovated last summer. You can see the tiny 10th tee box perched at the edge of the cliff:
A relic of that tee box used to exist, but it had since been buried in fescue grass. When the Pebble Beach Company rebuilt and softened the contours of the ninth green last summer, it also restored that 10th tee box. Here is a picture of the ninth green (and a potentially 10th teeing ground) during the 1961 U.S. Amateur from the Pebble Beach Co. archives:
The new 10th tee box was not in play during the AT&T, and it is only used on rare occasions throughout the year. But it could see some tournament action with the U.S. Amateur coming to Pebble Beach in 2018, and the U.S. Open returning in 2019.
”Mike Davis knows that it’s there,” Pebble Beach’s R.J. Harper said of the USGA’s executive director. ”He’s coming out in the next few months.”
The new/old tee certainly caught the attention of 20-year-old Jordan Spieth:
”It looked really cool,” Jordan Spieth said. ”Doesn’t look like it’s going to be used because it’s a lot shorter hole from there. But if it was up another 30 yards, it makes it almost drivable. And that would be a really cool hole if No. 10 was drivable with the water sticking in there, and the way the green is shaped. That would be a pretty awesome hole.”
Does that mean Spieth would be tempted to go for the green at, say, the 2019 U.S. Open?
”If I’m under 30 years old, I’ll go for it,” Spieth said. ”If I grow up and I’m smart, I’ll probably lay up.”
Spieth will be just 25 in 2019.
Other changes coming to Pebble Beach before the 2019 U.S. Open include the rebuilding of the 14th and 17th greens.
During the 2010 U.S. Open, the par-5 14th hole handed out 36 double-bogeys, and 14 others. And that doesn’t account for the four 9s recorded four months earlier during the final round of the AT&T, including two by players who entered the hole in the top three.
“Right now, you can play ping pong and make a 15 on the hole,” said Davis after the 2010 U.S. Open. “What can you do to make the hole play as fair as possible, given you’ve got a 1,400 square-foot green that sits up in the air? I think that’s really what it comes down to.”
According to GolfWeek, the plan is to rebuild the back left quadrant of the green to keep balls from tumbling off, and to recapture a hole location back-right. Below is the current configuration of the green:
The 17th green will also be reconstructed. It slaughtered players down the stretch in the 2010 U.S. Open.
When (Ernie) Els was asked how you’re supposed to hit the 17th green with a left pin position, he laughed.
“I don’t know,” said Els, who played the hole 5-over for the week. “I don’t think I got that shot.”
Nobody did Sunday. With the USGA using a 1982 pin placement as a tip of the cap to Tom Watson playing in his final U.S. Open, only seven of 83 pros hit the 17th green, according to the NBC broadcast.
The 17th played to a 3.49 stroke average for the championship, and there was just one birdie — Tim Clark’s hole-out from a bunker — on the final day. Graeme McDowell, Gregory Havret and Els — who finished 1-2-3 in 2010 — all bogeyed it on Sunday.
The plan for the new 17th green is to widen the middle portion, and flatten the front, although the overall size is not expected to change by much.
“It’s not the original design by any stretch because it was really flat,” Harper said. “Bunkers were flat. We like the fact that from the tee box, when you’re back on the back tee, you’ve got some visuals that allow you to see contour, and that’s what we’ve done over time with some of the bunkering. But way back when, it was flat as a pancake, and that’s not the way that hole should look and feel.”
The back left quadrant sounds like it will still be quite challenging, as there is just 14 paces of green for a shot that plays up to 220 yards in the U.S. Open: