USGA Open genius Mike Davis gives golf fans another gift setting up 18 for eagles in Tiger's final round
LA JOLLA, Calif. - A few days ago, I wrote a column about how the par 5 18th finisher at Torrey Pines was the now the most exciting hole in major championship golf, urging the USGA to ignore Tiger Woods’ knocks about it being too easy and continue to set it up as a the rare risk-reward eagleable hole. Especially for Sunday.
So the final round’s here and with many of the players expecting the USGA’s course setup guru Mike Davis to stretch 18 back to the very back tee in the multiple tee system in use in this U.S. Open, what happens? Eighteen is pushed even a little farther forward. It’s playing 527 yards to the middle of the green on this championship Sunday, which all but screams at almost every player left in the field to go for it in two. Which puts that little dinky, swallow, somewhat ugly, but so sweet pond into play and sets up the chance for a finish full of roars - and no doubt plenty of jerky-nerve plops.
Eighteen can play as long as 573 yards, but that back tee turned out to be just a psyche-out job from the USGA blue blazers. It hasn’t played at that tee all championship, which shows you how flexible and fresh-thinking Davis is willing to be. Like yours truly, Davis saw how fun 18 was, how its possible two-shot momentum swings have infused the Open with a sense of thrilling doubt.
Sometimes, the powers in golf do actually get it right. Of course, it helps when they’re reading WorldGolf.com.
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