The difficult (unfair?) 14th green at Pebble Beach Golf Links is undergoing an overdue renovation, and the brotherhood of those who would rejoice at the news would not be small.
PGA Tour Champions player Paul Goydos would be among them. Former tour player John Maginnes Tweeted a photo of work being done on 14 and posed a question to Goydos.
“I think it could turn out 9x better!” Paul Goydos replied.
Goydos, some might recall, was leading the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in the final round in 2010 when he made a quadruple-bogey nine on the 14th hole. He was one of four players to make a quad there during the tournament.
Goydos, a clever sort with words, once described a shot to the 14th green as “trying to stop a pitching wedge on a moving school bus.”
The renovated green will allow for more hole locations, including placing them in the back right part of the green and will be expanded from 3,200 square feet to approximately 4,000 square feet, RJ Harper, executive vice president golf and retail for the Pebble Beach Company said.
"We’re in day three,” Harper said, “and after probably three years of discussions on when we’re going to do this and how we’re going to do this, and looking through 80, 90 years of history and photos, working with Arnold (Palmer) and making sure we do this the right way, we decided to pull the trigger.
"Through a collection of all the photos, we landed on something we think is the right way. We’re increasing it to the original size and we’re going to keep the general shape to the green. The big cavernous bunker remains, but we’re lowering the top lip that if your ball came down there it would shoot it to the back of the green. We're leveling off the upper part of the green, increasing square footing by going back, and recreateing the pin location back right that no longer had been available to us. "
The four hole locations in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am have all been on the upper left quadrant in recent years, as was the case for the 2010 U.S. Open. Modern green speeds have rendered the front part of the green inaccessible.
And getting the ball to stop on the upper left quadrant has been exceedingly difficult. “The way that little green, at least the left side of it, sits almost up on a pencil, there's maybe like 1,600, 1,700 square feet there,” USGA executive director Mike Davis said in 2010. “And if you miss it, I don’t care if you’re long, short, left, right, it’s no good. You’re going to have issues.”
Davis has called Pebble’s 14th hole and the 12th hole at Oakmont Country Club, site of this year’s U.S. Open, “the two toughest par 5s that we use in the U.S. Open rota.”
The renovation should be completed by late June to mid-July, Harper said.