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Diaz

My Five: Favorite Finishing Holes

March 9, 2011
Ideally, an 18th hole -- and especially the 72nd hole of a golf tournament -- offers validation. It should force a player, and particularly one in contention, to hit a good shot or suffer real consequences. That's not to say an 18th hole has to be a difficult par. A risk-reward par 5 can be played safely, but hitting in two and making birdie should require something special, especially under pressure. Above all the hole should be interesting and intelligently designed. This leaves out Firestone's 18th, with its poorly conceived driving area. My five also doesn't include the 18th at Pebble Beach, often called the greatest finishing hole in golf. No doubt it's gorgeous, and in heavy wind can be quite difficult. But it's essentially a layup hole, and I'm not a big fan of trees in the middle of the fairway.
Craig Parry

1. TPC Blue Monster at Doral CC, 467 yards, par 4

(WGC-Cadillac Championship)
Weighing the factors of history, demand on the player and the amount of fear induced, the best of the best. A lot of amazing stuff has happened on the Blue Monster's final test, from Craig Parry's sudden death eagle in 2004 to victory-robbing double bogeys by Greg Norman on down. When the hole plays into the prevailing wind, the drive might be the most difficult on the tour, because the wider landing area on the left is nearly unreachable. If a player can't summon a straight bullet, the bailout to the right leaves an awkward second from where many a ball has been rinsed. Statistically, it has been ranked the most difficult hole more than any other over the years.
David Adame/AP Photo
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