First Look From Above: New TPC Sawgrass 12th Hole

Granted it's just a teaser and we'll no doubt get a much closer look at all the details in May, but the renovated 12th hole at TPC Sawgrass looks like a fun risk-reward short par-4.

A sound risk-reward blend is not normally Pete Dye's style--he tends to favor all risk holes--but he still narrates the video embed below. While we know he didn't write the script because of the hospitality enhancement mention, it's still good to hear he endorses the much-needed change to what was not an interesting hole.

Photo gallery here.

TPC Sawgrass Greens To Be Resurfaced In '15, Could Other Significant Changes Be Coming Too?

Long chatted about and apparently now the recent struggles at TPC Sawgrass have lined up a re-grassing of the greens after the 2015 Players, with other tweaks coming too. Unfortunately, no mention yet of some of the bigger changes desired by Pete Dye (mentioned in a Jeff Silverman Golf World profile out this week, not online).

More important to the future of the course is some sort of effort to recapture the fear factor and ruggedness of the original. More of the old Captain Jack Sparrow vibe instead of today's Captain-Sparrow-in-drag aesthetic.

Anyway, Rex Hoggard with the memo that went out to players detailing the planned work for the first time.

As a result, the Tour announced in Wednesday’s memo that a “significant” number of trees have been removed from around the most severely affected greens and that after the 2015 Players Championship the circuit will convert to a hardier variety of Bermuda grass and “will also make strategic design changes to expand certain green complexes to disperse wear and tear from foot traffic.”

“It isn’t one thing that caused this it was several things, shade, foot traffic, winter conditions and the application program, while accepted as the right thing to do it proved to be too aggressive,” said Ty Votaw, the Tour’s executive vice president of communication and international affairs.

Another Tiger Drop Debate; Grassy Knoll In Play

Jay Busbee breaks down the latest Tiger Woods ball drop controversy, the third this year (as Bob Harig noted in his story about the situation at 14 tee Sunday at The Players). The Big Lead has about two minutes of the telecast posted.

After watching the recording multiple times, reading the description of the shot and hearing NBC's Mark Rolfing describe it, that at best, playing partner Casey Wittenberg's assertion appears to be a stretch when suggesting where the ball crossed the hazard. As quoted in an unbylined AP notes story:

"He asked me exactly where it crossed," Wittenberg said. "I told him I thought it crossed on the corner of the bunker, right where he took his drop. And it's all good."

I'm guessing Sergio Garcia wouldn't have seen it this way based on the commenters here who could smell trouble right from the get go and also had some wise follow-up observations.

At least based on the blimp shots and the obvious skepticism from Peter Jacobsen and Johnny Miller, the ball would have had to have flown very straight, then hooked hard at the end. It does not take a genius to see by Tiger's reaction and the video, that the hook was immediate, not late as Wittenburg's drop point would require.

As noted in Harig's story, the PGA Tour's position was clear: this was the call of Woods and his playing partner Casey Wittenberg with help from Mark Rolfing of NBC. Since Woods took his eye off the ball by the time it made the purpoted late hook, he could not speak with certainty about where the ball crossed the hazard. The call is Wittenerg's then.

The PGA Tour's Mark Russell, as quoted by Harig:

"They both saw it," Russell said of Woods and Wittenberg. "They're back there with a television commentator [NBC's Mark Rolfing], who basically agreed with them. He said he hit a high hook. The problem is on television, that area looked the same, and they thought he dropped up there where it splashed. He dropped it 60 yards back of that. The players had the view of it."

What caused the doubt for me was this statement by Rolfing speaking of hazard stakes by tees on the fairway side of the lake, no where near where the ball crossed:

"It looked like it was over water at this point, if not before."

"Before" seems to be what the video and screen captures suggest.

Here is the overview photo of the hole as taken from the blimp, which did not appear to move much and had what seems like a very good angle to capture the tee shot's general flight.

Below is the "at this point" Rolfing refers to, which appears to be well right (from the player perspective on the tee) of the entry point detailed in the third photo.

Thanks to all the readers who sent in this YouTube analysis by filmmaker John Ziegler dissecting Tiger's 14th hole tee shot, questionable drop and NBC coverage of the situation.  Now, it should be prefaced by saying this video was put together by a  filmmaker who is devoted to clearing Joe Paterno's name in the Sandusky affair, not exactly a cause for the ages. Still, Ziegler makes some strong points and calls out Rolfing's shift from his original call to supporting the drop location even as Johnny and Peter Jacobsen are so clearly not buying the assertion.