Pebble Beach's 14th Well Received, But Is This Progress?

After reading Alex Miceli's Morning Read take on the early reviews of Pebble Beach's revamped 14th green, I'm glad to hear that the hole is no longer controversial.

However, Miceli's image and description of a restoration focused on Douglas Grant and Jack Neville's 1919 green instead of the once-brilliant Chandler Egan green created 9 years later and lasting until recently, suggests a serious setback for efforts to preserve Egan's brilliant pre-1929 U.S. Amateur renovation.

Yes, the Egan green had become too severe for today's speeds, but the front hole location has been usable in my lifetime and it was fun when Stimp speeds were in the 8's and 9's. The remarkably cool Egan tier should also have been preserved in some way for historical accuracy and better variety of hole location looks. 

The renovation, which began after last year’s Tour event, used early 20th-century photographs of the Jack Neville-Douglas Grant design to help capture the historic contour of the greens. Architects took advantage of modern technology to improve playability of the hole. Among the changes: the green meets USGA specifications, a SubAir moisture-management system was installed and bunkers were renovated.

“It's a sensible green change,” Padraig Harrington said. “Be interesting to see how it would play in U.S. Open conditions when it's Stimping at 12 or more. I had a putt on the right side of 5 feet above the hole, and I wasn't trying to diddle it. I was trying to hit it. The greens are slow enough today, so it was very playable today. I was surprised how flat that area of the green is. I thought yesterday there was a bit more break in it, but today I was looking at it and it probably would be able to hold a pin at a U.S. Open.”

Miceli notes that the early scoring average was well below par and the 14th was playing as the second easiest.