The Loop

No. 14: All-time king of the par 5s?

June 18, 2010

Here's some context on those incessant mentions by television announcers concerning the difficulty of Pebble Beach's 14th hole during this U.S. Open, a situation foreshadowed by Ron Whitten's feature in Golf World's preview section on the championship.

Midway through the second round the 14th's scoring average is nearly 5.45, fourth-toughest for the week behind the second (4.52), which was converted by the USGA from a par 5 to a 4, the 17th (3.49) and ninth (4.45).

But the 14th is gunning to become the toughest par 5 seen by PGA Tour members since 1983, when the circuit began tracking hole-by-hole results for every tournament course. According to the tour's archives, the toughest par 5 since '83 was Carnoustie's sixth during the 1999 British Open (5.482), followed by Pebble Beach's 14th in the 1985 Bing Crosby National Pro-Am (5.425) and Oakmont's 12th during the 2007 Open (5.412).

The 14th is a perennial contender in the par-5 difficulty race: It has ranked No. 1 among par-5 holes in 10 seasons since 1983, eight during the February tournament and twice during Opens (5.378 in 2000, 5.293 in 1992).

-- Brett Avery