UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — The 18th hole at Chambers Bay was going to be played as a par-4 until stronger-than-expected north winds forced the USGA to stick with the hole as a three-shotter.
The 18th hole at Chambers Bay (Getty Images)
First reported by Golf World and Golf Channel contributor Tim Rosaforte, the original plan called for reversing par on the first and 18th holes each day, for a total of par 9. But after Friday's second round exposed the 18th as a less-than-ideal par 4, few could see the USGA finishing with the two-shot version come Sunday. Yet as the round wrapped up Saturday, the Fox Sports broadcast team reiterated the plan to finish as a par 4 and the original Sunday par 4 plan was set.
The final day is experiencing the stiffest breezes of the week and have already exceeded the forecasted plan. Sources within the USGA say the committee grew uncomfortable with the prospect of a peculiar par 4 finish due to the increase in wind. They were not in any way swayed by Jordan Spieth's criticism ("dumbest hole I've ever played in my life") or his post-third round assertion that he might play up the first fairway.
The hole is cut 37 paces back in the 43-pace deep green and in a forgiving bowl that may allow a player to feed a long second shot towards the cut, setting up an eagle possibility.
Besides creating more excitement and respecting the hole's design concept, the decision averts a potential embarrassing scenario with Spieth or other players already critical of the conditions.
Besides, there is already enough trouble lurking at Chambers Bay.