The AJC's Chris Vivlamore considers the sensitivity of reversing the East Lake nines for this week's Tour Championship and given the course's traditional routing, says there are concerns about upsetting the legacy of Bobby Jones.
Why, I'm not entirely sure, given that Jones did not route the course or declare its design sacred in any writings. And as Viviamore points out, Jones and MacKenzie flipped the nines at Augusta National early on because sometimes it just makes sense.
In the case of East Lake, the switch means the island green 6th becomes the 15th and the reachable par-5 9th is the finishing hole. So while the previous configuration did produce it share of moments, it's hard to say that the old sequencing was particularly sacred.
Viviamore writes and quotes tournament chairman Rob Johnston:
"It came down to two things," Johnston said. "One, we wanted more hospitality venues and more friendly patron viewing experiences. We think it does this by reversing the nines. The second thing is, if you just look at raw scoring, there is very little volatility on the old Nos. 16, 17 and 18 versus what we think the new Nos. 15-18 will be. It's the drama, the excitement and the fan experience."
Finishing on a par-5 likely will bring more leaderboard movement with the tournament on the line. Since 1998, the former 18th hole had a scoring average of 3.169 (plus-.160) and yielded zero eagles and 153 birdies. The new 18th had a scoring average of 4.677 (minus-.323) and yielded 16 eagles and 700 birdies.
Excitement has never been a word associated with East Lake, so why not?