Thursday, May 6, 2010
Is the 17th at TPC Overrated ?
It is the image you'll see all week during the Players Championship (or PLAYERS if you're the PGA). It is the hole everyone can't wait to play when forking over the hundreds of dollars to have their shot at TPC Sawgrass. It is crazy, intimidating, lonely and unique ... but is it overrated?
That is the question I was asked this week and the question that I always think about during Players week. What is so great about the 17th?
The obvious things are this. It is an island green, surrounded by water, and has zero bailout points. It is cool, because you don't get a lot of island greens in this world, and to sit on the tee thinking, "If I don't hit a good shot, I have to hit this shot again" is a mental battle rarely seen on the PGA Tour. Players are programmed to think of bailout points, and here there are zero.
It is pretty, and gives an incredible stadium feel rarely seen in golf.
It is the second to last hole of the day, and sits, luminous, as you play the par-5 16th.
But here are some other facts.
The hole is 132-yards long. That is a wedge for most touring pros. A wedge to a "larger than you'd expect" green is cake for these guys.
The back of the green is a little too bouncy. Think Sean O'Hair here. His shot hits the back of the green and bounces into the water. That doesn't seem very fair.
It shouldn't decide this big of an event.
While the hole is fun to watch, I'm convinced it is overrated, and that with no wind, guys are going to hit this green at a very, very high percentage.
That being said, I'd love to try my hand at it, just to feel the pressure that comes with standing over a tee shot with absolutely no opportunity for a mishit.