"They've changed it a little bit, but they haven't ruined it"

John Strege points out Scott Verplank's disappointment with some of the changes at Riviera, which this year included bizarre add-ons to the 11th and 17th that were not carried out very gracefully. It's not a good sign when PGA Tour pros can tell... 

"They've changed it a little bit, but they haven't ruined it," said Scott Verplank who, heading into the final round, stands tied for fourth in the Northern Trust Open, six shots behind leader Phil Mickelson.

"They haven't ruined it" smacks of damning it with faint praise. Several greens have been expanded by architect Tom Fazio and his design associate Tom Marzolf, though not necessarily as a counter to their tending to shrink over time. They've been expanded in places where there has never been green before, contrary to architect George Thomas' original design.

"I haven't been all that impressed with some of the changes," Verplank said, "but the golf course is so great. As long as you don't do anything too major, it's a brilliant place. They changed some of the greens a little bit, and it seemed to be a little bit out of character with Riviera, but it's still great. Every great golf course goes through stages of changing it and tinkering with it and all that. It would be pretty hard to mess this one up too much."

It should be noted the Tour is not using the new wing locations on the 17th and only used the front spots on No. 11 (I'm sparing your photos...it's more of the same incongruous stuff as they've done in the past).