News & ToursJune 18, 2010

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

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

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