The golf architect is not at all concerned with chastising bad play. On the contrary, it is his business to arrange the field of play as to stimulate interest, and hence, the province of hazards is to chasten the too ambitious.
In an interesting twist, though a player might have won a half-dozen tournaments early in the year, the point totals will be reset before the four championship series events. Those atop the regular-season points list will be seeded higher and assigned a new total based on his standing, but all 144 players who qualify have a mathematical chance of winning the $10 million bonus.
"If the New York Yankees win 115 games and win the American League East, they have to start all over," Finchem said. "It's a very volatile system, where a lot of players go into it with an opportunity to win."
After the first three championship series tournaments, the top 30 players in playoff points advance to the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Whether fans will embrace the changes remains open to question. The LPGA adopted a points component this year as a means of qualifying for the season-ending ADT Championship in West Palm Beach -- which also will feature a huge payout -- and nobody has said much about it.
Thanks to reader LPGA Fan for this Gene Yasuda Golfweek story that makes me think Carolyn Bivens will have a hard time making it past Thanksgiving.
But during the Wegmans LPGA tournament in Rochester, N.Y., it became evident Bivens' style is causing problems of substance. So much that the tour's most important constituents – tournament owners – publicly have joined the fray.
During a June 20-21 board meeting of the LPGA Tournament Owners Association at the Wegmans, directors expressed dissatisfaction with Bivens' take-it-or-leave-it approach. Their complaints signal the most serious challenge yet to Bivens' administration and give credibility to industry whispers that her tenure may be short-lived.
But Bivens dismissed notions that her employment was at risk and assailed what she says is a vocal minority that's attacking her only to "protect the status quo."
"The band of TOA has decided it's all or nothing. . . That's why they sought out the media." Bivens said. "It's been difficult to sit back and read that I'm out here pissing off a bunch of people. Any change threatens some people.
Isn't it wonderful that she's so media savvy!? What branding.
However, at least a dozen tournaments are in various stages of contract renewal. Should events sever ties with the tour, some players, miffed by the reduced opportunities to cash paychecks, could break ranks and seek Bivens' ouster.
According to Stephanie Hall, the TOA's president, directors devoted their entire session – 10 hours over two days – reviewing the commissioner's leadership since she took office in September. Most revealing, Hall said the group focused on how it "can help move the needle off the administrational hiccups" and restore "the essence of partnership that's been lost."
Bivens said she is not worried about losing her job because she's doing exactly what her bosses want her to do.
"The (LPGA Board of Directors) is 200 percent behind me," she said. "The staff and the commissioner are executing a direction that has been staked out by the board."
The staff that's left, anyway. And hey, at least she didn't use 110%!
But Bivens said she has made concessions – including the sanctioning fee adjustments for existing events – and added that "you have to move when the market allows you to move."
That's life in a free market.
"You've got a clash of old world and new, and you've got others who are saying, 'Don't you appreciate I've been here for 20 years when nobody else was here?' Absolutely we do," Bivens said. "But do you not charge market value for a product because somebody has been around for 20 years? That's really what we're talking about."
Of course, we knew that.
Hall declined to identify the events, but her breakdown makes clear that nearly 38 percent of the LPGA calendar potentially is in jeopardy.
Hey, it's not like it's 40%.
In addition, she insisted Bivens' critics were unaware of the strategic initiatives the commissioner is crafting behind the scenes.
"You're going to hear a lot of positive things over the next couple of months," Donofrio said.
But owners are tiring of that refrain.
"It seems every time we meet, we're being asked, 'Give us another six weeks,' " Hall said. "Or we're being told, 'We've got some great things happening.' It's been a year, and time is running out as far as patience."
It is becoming increasingly apparent Bivens needs to work faster if she's to earn positive reviews from more of her constituents – and, perhaps, keep her job.
"In all fairness to the commissioner, our owners have certainly discussed the complexities of being in her shoes . . ." Hall wrote in another e-mail. "Many have concurred with the intent of some of her initiatives, however, the means to those particular ends is what they would likely do differently."
Yep, Thanksgiving, that's your over-under.
Lorne Rubenstein writes about an interesting Champions Tour roundtable, where surely to the dismay of the Tour, a technology debate broke out between Jerry Pate and Tom Kite.
"If you take 20 years ago, [and look at] the best 20 players in the world and analyze their swings," Pate, the 1976 U.S. Open and Canadian Open champion, said, "the swings are better today. They're on plane more and they repeat more often."
Kite cited the equipment as the main reason players are hitting the ball crazy distances. "You've got equipment out of control," he said. Kite, the 1992 U.S. Open champion, blamed the ball in particular, arguing that it's got out of hand.
Pate didn't disagree that the ball is an influence, but argued strongly that personal influences are also significant and even the more important factors. He said today's players "have better training habits, there are better orthopedic surgeons [to help golfers recover from injuries], they work out every day, and they have better personal habits.
"The golf-course conditioning is much better," Pate added, "and yet we still pick on equipment."
See, someone buys into those talking points!
The day moved to Liberty National, where Rubenstein monitored play.
Pate teed it up with one group on a long par five, and ripped his drive nearly 300 yards. He laughed and tried to argue that he's in better shape than he was 20 years ago. Pate did look in good shape, and he's recovered from injuries that kept him out of competitive golf for some 15 years.
Pate then hit his next shot with a hybrid club just short of the green. He carried most of a lake to hit this shot of about 240 yards, and acknowledged that he was hitting the ball a long way past where he did years ago. Ah, an admission.
Kite came along a while later, and dropped a ball at the right edge of a fairway, 175 yards from the hole, with water intruding most of the way. He launched a 7-iron way up in the air, over the water, with a little draw. It finished 15 feet from the hole.
"Could you have hit a 7-iron that far and so high in your 30s?" I asked Kite, although I guessed the answer because Kite was a low-ball hitter and maxed out at about 155 yards with a 7-iron then.
"Not even close," Kite said. Asked whether the loft on his 7-iron then was the same then as the 7-iron he uses today, Kite answered, "My lofts haven't changed."
He added, "When Jerry said it was less about equipment than other factors this morning, I turned to Rick [Rick George, the Champions Tour president, who was sitting beside Kite] and told him I didn't believe that. I don't care how fit a player is or how good his swing is, he couldn't hit it further in his 50s than in his 30s."
The winner of the debate? Kite, no question. One more thought about distance: Hitting the ball into the stratosphere didn't help Tiger Woods make the cut in the U.S. Open last week, and Phil Mickelson hit only two of 14 fairways the last round and couldn't conjure a swing to put the ball into the last fairway. He double-bogeyed the hole from the boonies, lost his one-shot lead, and handed the tournament to Geoff Ogilvy.
Conclusions from this corner: The ball is indeed the culprit for the distances Tour players are getting. Thankfully, control still matters, at least on U.S. Open courses with rough-like grass as high as a cornfield.
But something's wrong when it matters hardly anywhere else.
Sadly, most of the talk centered around the flooded course and the dreadful forecast for Thursday. Still, a few items of interest:
Q. We had the first major here in the U.S. in 1895, and we waited nor 100 years for the U.S. Amateur. Why did it take so long to come back here? I know it's probably before your time?An innocent mistake. The bow tie that makes him look older.
DAVID FAY: Thank you for that.
DAVID FAY: And I think that Winged Foot confirmed that a great old golf course can still be a great championship site for contemporary golf. It's remarkable that 32 years ago the story line from Winged Foot was the massacre at Winged Foot, the unfairness of the golf course, the trickery of the golf course. The winning score was 287. Two weeks ago the winning score was 285 and the greatest criticism I heard was that the greens were a little slower than they expected. There was no comment about fundamental unfairness of the golf course or it's not playable or it's not rewarding good shot making. It certainly punished errant shot making?You see, the winning score doesn't matter to them. Nope, not a bit.
Tim Finchem and a bunch of other suits convened in New York to plug the Fed Ex Cup. And as is usually the case, the Tour shows little imagination in creating their "playoffs." Dan Hicks emceed.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Thank you, Dan. Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to an announcement that we hope embarks us on what we hope will be a new era in golf.I wonder if anyone asked about the demise of the Booz Allen?
This morning in Washington, D.C., we had an annual breakfast, our fifth annual breakfast with 16 or 17 members of Congress to talk about the progress of the First Tee Program.
As I was coming up here today focusing on this announcement, it occurred to me that here we are again announcing a new initiative in New York, and one that I think with great enthusiasm we will be able to look back on a few years from now and recognize the same kind of progress in what the FedEx Cup is trying to do with what we've seen in First Tee. The difference is, of course, that today we're not starting from scratch the way we were with First Tee. We started with a tremendously successful platform that communicates the game of golf.
And if you nodded in understanding at that last sentence, you need help.
When we concluded the elements of what we wanted to do in basic form, we thought that we needed a sponsor company and a partner that had two major qualifications. First of all, we needed a company with a brand that could integrate easily across the entire PGA TOUR platform, because each week we did not want to take away from the importance of our title sponsors.
Because Lord knows, the fans tune in looking for brand platform integration.
So let's hear from the suckers ponying up $35 million a year for these exciting playoffs.
MIKE GLENN: Thank you, Commissioner. It's a pleasure for us to be here today, especially given our long-standing relationship with the PGA TOUR. It's been wonderful being the title sponsor of the FedEx St. Jude Classic for so many years, and I have to tell you it's a bit bittersweet to give that up, but clearly we are moving to a new level and we are very excited about that.
It would be an understatement to say that this is a significant day for sport of golf and the PGA TOUR, and I can tell you that I speak on behalf of hundreds of thousands of employees and contractors of FedEx to say that we are very happy to extend our relationship with the PGA TOUR and to be the sponsor of the FedEx Cup.
Sports marketing has been a very important part of the way that we've built our brand and supports our brand for many, many years, and we truly believe that the FedEx Cup will be a very unique and special addition to our portfolio. The Cup is very consistent with our brand values and reliability, excellence, precision and leadership and we're looking forward to 2007 when we begin the FedEx Cup.
And we're looking forward to hearing you and the Commissioner mentioning reliability 450,000 times over the life of the contract.
Here's where it gets just plain sad.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Let me turn to focus on the second part, which is our version of the playoffs. As we looked at it, we had a number of questions to be answered. How can we structure playoff that is created big events? We wanted each week to stand on its own and be a huge event in the market it's played and for all of our fan base of 110, 112 million Americans to really focus on it. When I say "Americans," I should go beyond, because so many of our players today are international; it's really a world fan base.
Good salvage job there Commish.
But that challenge and the additional questions of creating a series that every player felt the need, the want and the enthusiasm to play in each and every week to create a series of weeks that is unheard of where all of the players would play head-to-head in four straight weeks created a number of questions. I want to try to answer those questions, but before I do, let me introduce a little piece of video. NBC was kind enough to ask Jimmy Roberts to take a few minutes and try to put the notion of playoffs for golf in perspective.
(Commissioner gives two claps, The Clapper turns lights back on)
Oh sorry, it was that or poking fun at Jimmy Roberts.
But let me show you for a second how the playoffs set up and how they work. First of all, the players play again through the regular season and they get to a seeding point. So when they are seeded, the points they have earned to date go away, and they now are awarded a certain number of points that they will carry into the playoffs, and they will earn points each of the four playoff weeks. The screen you see is the reset point distribution.If you have any idea what the home-field advantage thing is about, please let me know, because I have no idea what he's talking about.
So if Stuart, who is in fifth or sixth place right now this year, and we were doing the Cup this year were to progress and end up in first place, he would have 100,000 points. He'd have a 1,000-point lead over the No. 2 player, and you can see the distribution right on down the list. The philosophy here is that Stuart should be awarded some benefit for the play that he has had all year long. He's won tournaments, he's worked hard, he's played a well and he's got himself into that No. 1 seed position. But it is not an award that precludes him from significant competition. Therefore, the intervals between players are fairly slim. And it creates on one hand more or less a home-field advantage, if you will; in some sports you can argue whether there is real a home-field advantage, versus a very volatile system where a lot of players go into the playoffs with an opportunity to win.
When you consider that each of our four events is going to have a prize money each week of $7 million, it means that if Stuart is in that first position or in the fifth position at the end of the seeding process, the regular season, he's looking at the next four weeks being worth $63 million in total payout. And it is that amount of money, coupled with everything else going into the Cup, which we think sets it apart and makes it very, very special.
Yes, to the players. But for the fans?
Here's the Barclay's dude, Bob Diamond, who puts Finchem to shame with some of this MBAspeak.
Let me give you a sense, just a couple of things about why this is important to an organization like Barclays. You know, first and foremost, it's who do we think we are and how do we think of ourselves. And you heard Jimmy Roberts talk on the video just a few minutes ago about golf being a game of tradition, it's really one of the world's oldest, most traditional games. Well, in Barclays, we first took to posit in the City of London in 1689. We have been in the banking business over 300 years, over 100 years here in the United States.
When we think about ourselves, we think about tradition, we think about strength and we think about excellence. But we also think about the importance of being around the globe of our global footprinting business. Another thing that's important to us is our U.S. build.
(Finchem scribbles "footprinting" on yellow tablet, circles it twice.)
Time for questions and where the bad news arrives. It seems the playoffs aren't really playoffs.
Q. Most playoffs that I know don't include every member of a league, but in yours, everybody plays in the first three tournaments. Have you thought of reducing the field after all the points were accumulated leading up to the first playoff tournament?Yes, but you see in real playoffs, eventually we send people home.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: We have, and we thought about it a great deal. We've concluded that with the first playoff event, the Barclays Classic, we assume that every player in the field will have a mathematical chance to win. We could reduce it the next two weeks, but we don't feel the need to do.
So now, we may change our mind and probably will change our mind on some things as we go forward as we analyze it each year, and right now, we're of the view that the players are really focused all season long on getting into the playoffs and if they played hard enough to get there, they should have the opportunity to participate.
Also, we recognize that winning is what is most important in the playoffs, and it's harder to win a tournament when you have more competition; I think virtually any PGA TOUR player will tell you that. So at this juncture for those reasons, we are going to stay the course, and we'll see as we evaluate it in the out year.
So I don't think it's unusual that we should have a system that's different from every other sport in this respect. The key question is: Does it work for us and does it work with the culture of our sport.
Culture, nice, but it's no footprinting.
Q. I'd just like a clarification, as I understand it, you won't be eliminating any players until you get to the TOUR Championship; is that correct?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: There will be players, Jerry, who fall below a line of mathematically that are able to win the Cup. Each week that line will descend. But the field sizes, if you make it to the playoffs, you can play all three of the first three events in 2007, that's correct.
What that's going to create, obviously, is a player who no longer has a mathematical chance to win might play lights-out for two weeks and move well up into the points list from a distribution standpoint. Now, that doesn't bother us, and it's another something for people watching to pay attention to.
Or not. Wouldn't this work better if they eliminated players once they had no mathmatical chance to win the Fed Ex Cup?
Q. Commissioner, the number going into Barclays, is that 144, how many players? And the 2007 BMW will begin the third day following Labor Day observed; will that be the position of the BMW each year?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: That is correct. There will be 144 players off of the FedEx Cup point list eligible to play at Barclays, and the same 144 players eligible to play at the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship.
Yes that's right, players who will be losing their full status get into these playoffs.
If, and let me just further clarify; if a player is ill, he would not be replaced. If a player cannot play for whatever reason, he would not be replaced. There are no sponsor exemptions. There is no open qualifying. There is no alternate list. You must make the 144 finishing at Greensboro to be in a position to play one of those three events.
Wow, rigorous standards to get into these playoffs.
What a farce.
Final count from the press conference: 3 platforms, 13 brand(s), 2 brandings and 3 cultures. Oh and 1 footprinting.
Thanks to reader Barry for this Jason Sobel Q&A with Bubba Watson.
Q: Would you be in favor of ever rolling back the golf ball to make courses more playable?
A: The sad thing about that is, there's a lot of great ideas out there, but the problem is, if you roll back the golf ball, you're still going to have the longest hitter and you're still going to have the shortest hitter. And there's nothing you can do about that. There's going to be a longer and shorter hitter, no matter if you all use the same clubs. There's always going to be a shortest and a longest, so it's not really going to affect anything.
As you can see, he's given the issue much thought and consideration. Reminds you of Ogilvy doesn't he?
Q: Do you think some courses are becoming obsolete now that players are hitting wedge into every hole?
A: There's a lot of great golf courses that we play that are tough and they're old golf courses. You think about the U.S. Open. All they did this year was add rough and the greens are fast. It wasn't tricked out, it wasn't sloped too much; it was just tough. Westchester is just tough, and Colonial -- a lot of the older courses are just tough and you didn't have to add any yardage, you didn't have to do anything. If you've got rough, some overhanging trees, it's a tough golf course.
All they did was out rough and the greens aren't fast, and it wasn't tricked out. I guess it hasn't occurred to Bubba that rough and fast greens are forms of trickery?
That was the PGATour.com headline linking the press release announcing the FedEx Cup. Everyone's excited.
"It's an exciting time for golf," Tiger Woods said. "It's certainly going to be more exciting for everyone, not just us as competitors who will be bucking heads against the best more often, but also for the fans."
I'm sure he's retooling his '07 schedule as we speak.
"I think for the spectator watching on television or even coming to golf events, there is going to be a new buzz," Ernie Els said.
I guess Phil wasn't available for comment.
The FedExCup will offer $35 million in total bonus money, one of the highest totals in sports. Following the winner's share of $10 million, second through fifth place will receive $3 million, $2 million, $1.5 million and $1 million, respectively.
You would hope those dollar figures will get their attention. And for the money quote...pun intended:
"The FedExCup is setting a new standard for excellence for the PGA TOUR and ushers in a new era for professional golf," said T. Michael Glenn, executive vice president of Market Development and Corporate Communications at FedEx. "With our shared attributes of reliability, excellence and leadership, the FedExCup is the perfect addition to the FedEx sports marketing portfolio."
The scary thing is, he was proud of that quote. Probably worked on it for weeks.
Check out the points breakdowns. No big shockers except that puny amounts available for events opposite the WGC's or majors.
I actually got to read this Ed Sherman column on the death of the Western as it appeared in the Chicago Tribune. And I wonder how many people at the Tour realize what the "Western Open" name has meant to pro golf? Doesn't matter now.
Officials, using well-rehearsed lines, tried to explain why Chicago golf fans shouldn't feel jilted.
"We really don't look at it as abandoning Chicago," the PGA Tour's Tom Wade said. "We look at it as really upgrading and bringing a top-level, world-class event to Chicago."
How much of an upgrade do we need?
Sure, the September field will be deeper, but Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh are Western Open regulars and Phil Mickelson is an occasional visitor.
Are the crowds, which average in the high 40,000 range on the weekend, going to be substantially bigger because Retief Goosen is in the field? I'd rather see Woods every year and take a pass on Goosen.
The fact is, a strong local sponsor never would have allowed the tournament to be moved.
It remains a mystery why, after Motorola bowed out in 1999, a Chicago-area company never stepped up to support the event.
Now BMW, for a substantial $12 million to $14 million per year investment in sponsor costs, has renamed the tournament. It's hard to see the Western Open name go, but at least Evans Scholars will see a major boost in funding. That's one upgrade we can accept.
It wasn't BMW's decision to rotate tournament locations. That ruling came from the PGA Tour.
Well the big news hits today...I know you can't wait to hear how the Fed Ex Cup works.
In the mean time, here's MacDuff's latest entry. I wonder if we'll get the Tour's point list for this year to show us how exciting it's going to be (and so we can see how they treat majors and WGC's).
1 Mickelson 22459 14
2 Singh 20134.37 15
3 Furyk 19587.5 13
4 Gf. Ogilvy 18487.5 12
5 Toms 16196.87 11
6 Weir 16021.87 13
7 Van Pelt 15940 17
8 Glover 15879.16 12
9 Pettersson 15758.33 14
10 C.Campbell 15587.5 13
11 Pernice 15525 12
12 Donald 15189.37 10
13 B. Quigley 15075 12
14 Appleby 14987.5 12
15 Oberholser 14637.5 13
16 Pampling 14622.5 13
17 A.Scott 14575 10
18 Olazabal 13862.5 10
19 Sabbatini 13754.16 12
20 Cink 13696.33 12
21 Funk 13637.5 14
22 Gay 13400 13
23 Immelman 13287.5 10
24 Z.Johnson 13075 11
25 Goosen 12937.5 10
26 Bohn 12913.33 13
27 Mayfair 12654.16 13
28 Senden 12475 11
29 Harrington 12450 10
30 Purdy 12375 12
31 T.Clark 12285 12
32 Vn Taylor 12137.5 10
33 Verplank 12037.5 10
34 Jerry Kelly 11687.5 10
35 Imada 11667.5 13
36 Crane 11585 12
37 Choi 11575 11
38 Love III 11412.5 11
39 Herron 11222.5 11
40 Els 11140 11
41 D.Wilson 11112.5 12
42 Lehman 11075 11
43 Warren 11050 11
44 Hoffman 10987.5 12
45 Ames 10862.5 8
46 Parnevik 10767.5 12
47 Sluman 10762.5 14
48 T.Woods 10659.37 6
49 Chopra 10567 12
50 Allenby 10350 9
51 Villegas 10337.5 11
52 RS Johnson 10305 10
53 Bryant 10257 10
54 Wetterich 10175 8
55 Poulter 10062.5 10
56 Watney 10025 11
57 Stricker 9725 7
58 Leonard 9683.33 11
59 D. Howell 9587.5 8
60 Palmer 9466.66 11
61 J.Ogilvie 9345 10
62 Howell III 9187.5 14
63 Flesch 9170 14
64 JJ Henry 9162.5 9
65 Garcia 9112.5 8
66 Waldorf 9087.5 11
67 F.Jacobson 9062.5 8
68 Rose 9041.66 11
69 JB Holmes 8945.83 9
70 Jobe 8905 10
71 Estes 8837.5 9
72 S. Maruyama 8825 10
73 Maggert 8812.5 9
74 Bertsch 8750 11
75 Hart 8680 9
76 G. Owen 8662.5 9
77 Curtis 8625 11
78 Barlow 8612.5 11
79 Azinger 8562.5 11
80 Rollins 8537.5 9
81 Branshaw 8525 9
82 Couples 8437.5 10
83 Austin 8425 13
84 N.Green 8415 11
85 Baird 8242.5 8
86 Beem 8168.75 10
87 Micheel 8162.5 9
88 Franco 8112.5 9
89 Sutherland 8050 10
90 DiMarco 7959.37 9
91 Andrade 7957.5 9
92 Sean O'Hair 7912 10
93 Slocum 7837.5 10
94 Kenny Perry 7812.5 9
95 Lonard 7787.5 10
96 J.Smith 7775 9
97 Sindelar 7762.5 11
98 Lowery 7700 10
99 Gronberg 7550 8
100 Gove 7437.5 7
101 Calcavecchia 7367.5 13
102 Faxon 7125 10
103 Langer 7079.16 9
104 Olin Browne 7075 12
105 Pavin 7062.5 7
106 Bjornstad 7005 9
107 Cook 6962.5 7
108 Baddeley 6962.5 8
109 JL Lewis 6937.5 11
110 Br.Davis 6867.5 9
111 J.Byrd 6862.5 5
112 Bub Watson 6850 7
113 Goggin 6675.25 6
114 Armour III 6425 8
115 Fischer 6425 9
116 M.Wilson 6415 7
117 Kaye 6325 9
118 Triplett 6275 7
119 Pat Perez 6262.5 7
120 Mahan 6262.5 11
121 Barron 6218.75 8
122 O'Hern 6200 4
123 Cabrera 6162.5 6
124 Lickliter II 6150 8
125 Geiberger 6068.75 9
126 B. Haas 6050 8
127 Allen 6050 9
128 Durant 5987.5 11
129 Overton 5837.5 9
130 Leaney 5712.5 7
131 Atwal 5650 6
132 Gore 5525 6
133 David Duval 5525 7
134 Ws Short Jr 5462.5 11
135 D.Clarke 5275 5
136 Westwood 5187.5 5
137 Matteson 5112.5 8
138 S.Jones 4980 9
139 Petrovic 4925 7
140 K. Cox 4887.5 5
Here's the view into the green, with those incredibly aged and character rich bunkers (and love the sand color, fescues and flowering weeds that give such a rugged appearance).
The fourth tee (upper image) sits next to the maintenance center and features an all or nothing uphill shot played to a "skyline green," generally played into a stiff breeze. The USGA lists it at 137 for this week's event.
The 5th (lower image) is longer with more of a run-up approach required, and is played on nearly the same line as the previous hole. A design defect to some, but way too fun and different for most to even notice.
It also appears there are plans to alternate the distance for this hole ala the 4th at Baltusrol.