As each year goes by I fear the true sporting spirit of match play is less and less in evidence. We find a growing disposition for play to concentrate on the figures that are registered at a hole rather than on the question of whether the hole is lost or won in a purely friendly match.
Several USGA members have forwarded the email alerting them to the fire sale on this year's must-not have stuff from Pebble Beach, where a boring logo, boring products and bloated prices set by the Pebble Beach Company encouraged fans to buy less. So do your part to help the Pebble Beach Company and take some of this stuff off their hands.
Not to beat a dead golf hole, but I just loved this effort by the art department (a.k.a. Tom Naccarato) to show us how much the fronting bunker at Pebble Beach's controversial 17th has eaten into the green. You may recall I detailed the issues here in this story and video.
And now, mid-Photoshop layering, the old bunker and the evolved together:
The view today:
And a restored look:
A week after the U.S. Open, there is still quite a bit of conjecture about the greens at Pebble Beach.
The USGA's Pat Gross writes this defense at USGA.org.
The U.S. Open is not about cosmetics; it’s about providing a challenging and rigorous test to identify the best player. Producing a cosmetically attractive golf course would have been the easy task: a little more water, a touch of fertilizer, and we would have had green, pretty putting greens and soft conditions, but that was not the goal.
The question I keep hearing relates to firmness and why they couldn't have softened the greens just a bit. And while I certainly can see that response, there is another large audience that would howl with horror at the notion of artificially softening the greens. But when the greens have shrunken so much and are in a sense dysfunctional architecturally when combined with major championshp conditions, maybe that is the answer. But either way, the USGA can't win.
I understand if you have Pebble Beach fatigue by now, but come on, it beats talking about the Traveler's Championship, no?
Anyway, for years I've been told by Pebble Beach Company folks that the old alternate fairway on the 9th fairway, created by Chandler Egan in the 1928 redo along with a shift of the 9th green toward the cliffs, was not possible because of cliff erosion.
Last week I wandered over to the now abandoned fairway and of course, there is plenty of space for the fairway and it provides the optimum angle to attack hole locations cut behind the gaping left bunker.
So for starters, here is a drawing of the hole that appeared in the 1929 National Greenkeeper:
And here is a view of the righthand fairway from the 8th hole:
And the view of the second shot from the right, a great angle to approach from:
Finally, the fairway view:
Tim Rosaforte and I debate this notion for GolfDigest.com. Spare me the jacket one-liners, I already heard plenty of not-very-clever one-liners from that international house of fashion sense known as the media center.
I've got a couple more before-afters that I forgot to post last week once play got underway. So before the 2010 U.S. Open buzz wears off...
Alister MacKenzie renovated the 8th green in 1926 as part of an audition for the greater overhaul that was handled by Chander Egan, Robert Hunter and Roger Lapham. Here is an early view of MacKenzie's green, with the 2010 US Open perspective showing two added bunkers. I'm not sure who added them, but something tells me it was Robert Trent Jones. And I think he made the right choice.
Driving home today after finally caving and buying a few items at Monday's 50% off sale, it occurred to me just how badly bungled the U.S. Open merchandise selection and pricing was. Though it was delightful to hear from sales reps that numbers were at 50% of the budgeted sales figures through Friday. The public does have limits.
Let's hope that in the USGA contract with the Pebble Beach Company for 2019 that the blue coats take control of the shop to ensure better stuff and pricing that fans have grown accustomed to.
Of course, the 50% off prices still felt like retail prices...in the real world.