Taking Options Out Of An Option Hole

Rough Where There Used To Be Short Grass (Click to enlarge)
Greatest option par-4 in golf? Yes, many would vote for Riviera's 10th, which was recently discussed and celebrated in Links Magazine (yours truly was a contributor, no link available).

But as we all know, options can lead to birdies, and we know that can't happen! So in their on-going attempt to do something to Riviera, Tom Marzolf and gang have made two almost mind-bogglingly poor change to the great 10th. Almost, because, well, they've made others in recent years.

The first I knew about and lament as I see it in person this week. The aiming bunker that the smart player goes out to the left, has been expanded toward the green to cut down on the number of drives going for the green (because you know, that's so boring to watch!).

Rear view of No. 10 lost approach (click to enlarge)
The other change is subtle but far more egregious.  A good portion of the left approach and lefthand drop off area, mown as fairway from 1993 to 2006, have been converted to light rough. This keeps missed approaches or attempts to drive the green closer to the putting surface. (This in the second photo you can see the outline of the old fairway area that ran balls well away from the green.)

Yes, this is one of those minor things that us architecture junkies howl about, but this short grass area was precisely the type of element that makes No. 10 such a playing and spectating joy.  The short grass added dimensions to the decision-making process and were left with all sorts o of weird shots, particuarly to the back hole locations.

Now balls will stay closer to the green and the hole should play easier. But worse than that, the growing of rough were there was once short stuff will eliminate options around the green, making it less interesting to watch or play.