The San Diego Union-Tribune's Tod Leonard endorses Tom Weiskopf's vision for the Torrey Pines North Course, though I'm not clear how much of it is based on getting to see actual plans/conceptual drawings, and how much is based on just how much less-awful Weiskopf's plan was compared to the alternatives. Furthermore, after seeing this year what Weiskopf did in giving TPC Scottsdale sand-flashed bunker faces that looked dreadful compared to the previous version of the course's time-tested moonscape-vibe, it's hard to gauge how sensitive he is to what has proven to work over time.
Either way, this is mildly encouraging in light of what Leonard saw in Robert Trent Jones Jr.'s plan:
In fact, it’s disturbing to me that Jones, given some of his ideas (we’ll get to those), was the top choice by the city golf committee, but we were saved when the Jones group was disqualified for going about $2 million over the best-value budget. (I’ll always scratch my head about that one, given that the parameters of the bids were very clear when the process started.)
Weiskopf’s plan on paper is detailed and direct. It removes the least amount of grass (5 acres), and so there is little fear that the essence of the North Course will be lost. There isn’t any danger of this spinning out of control with waste areas and becoming a desert course on the cliffs.
The current par will not be changed on any holes. There is no significant re-routing. (Gulbis' plans were outlandish. She wanted to flip the North nines and reverse the direction of the current first through third holes, with the 18th green placed where the No. 1 tee is now.)
There are some creative additions by Weiskopf (such as making 16 a driveable par-4), but nothing outlandish. Who doesn’t vote for shorter holes?
There will be fewer bunkers on the North Course than there are now, so that should allay concerns that this is going to become another South Course.
As for the greens, let’s face it, for their age they are maintained at a fabulous condition by the greenskeepers, but they have their issues, especially when they are cut low and speeds are fast. As the course readies for the Farmers Insurance Open, downhill putts on the North that are merely tapped race 8 to 10 feet past the hole.