Latest Riviera Changes: No. 12

Riviera12overviewRiviera's lengthy and character-rich par-4 12th was the recipient of a green enlargement prior to this year's Nissan Open. Like with the 9th hole work detailed here, the results leave a lot to be desired.

Notice the historic photo with No. 12 to the left. In the distance is the Riviera par-3 course (today's range) and clubhouse.

The spectators below are encircling the old green floor.

The photo below that shows the newly enlarged green, which has lost the "long, thin" character of the old green and actually appears to be larger than the original. There were also changes to the fronting bunker (now less deep and less intimidating than it was before...).

It's debatable whether this green really needed expansion.


The enlargement work shares the same problem as the expansion on No. 9: the new green falls away from the primary surface, making it debatable whether a hole location can be cut on the new area because of its slope.

Looking at it today with Geoff Ogilvy, he felt it was dicey if the greens were fast. 

Since the idea was to restore a purportedly lost hole location (if it every existed, which appears iffy), the goal of this work doesn't make sense. Nor does it bode well for this summer's expanstion of other greens).

And once again, the expansion of the 12th green makes shots missing this surface so much different and easier than in the old configuration. Once arguably the most difficult up and down on the back side, the larger green should make recoveries simpler. Because in effect, they are no longer recoveries, but instead, birdie putts.

riviera12putting.jpgNote this photo of PGA Tour pro John Riegger putting on the 12th during the practice round. Last year he would have faced a devilish lob recovery shot from this spot. Today it's a relatively easy two putt. 

That would be fine if the new hole location added some strategic enhancement. But both of those questions are up for serious debate, especially with a 25-yard wide fairway that makes it impossible for someone to flirt with the O.B. by driving down the left side to open up the best angle of attack.

riviera12bunker.jpgInstead, the new green seems to be an addition designed to offer an inaccessible "Sunday" hole location.

But with the bunker made more shallow, it actually becomes relatively harmless since and up-and-down isn't too difficult (whereas before it was deadly.)

None of this adds up to reflecting Captain Thomas's style.