PEBBLE BEACH, California – A hole-by-hole look at Pebble Beach, site of the 110th U.S. Open to be played from June 17-20, with ranking in difficulty for the 2000 U.S. Open and caddie comments:
No. 1, 380 yards, par 4: Few courses offer a more gentle start to the U.S. Open. Most players will use a fairway metal or long iron off the tee on this dogleg right, aiming at the right edge of the bunker beyond the fairway. Those who try to cut off the dogleg wind up being blocked by trees on the right. The second shot is a short iron to a green that is elevated and guarded by bunkers on both sides.
2000 rank: 12.
Tony Navarro, Adam Scott’s caddie: “You really don’t want to be above the hole or left of the hole on that green. That bunker on the left is pretty penal.”
No. 2, 502 yards, par 4: This has been converted into a par 4 for the U.S. Open. It’s a straightforward tee shot that should avoid the bunkers on the right side of the fairway. Anything left in the rough means a player will probably have to play short of a large ditch about 100 yards from the green. The green is narrow, with a menacing bunker along both sides. The right bunker typically is less forgiving.
2000 rank: 4.
Tony Navarro: “If you miss the fairway, unless you’re in the bunker, more times than not you’re not going to be able to carry the ditch. That hole, everything is about the tee shot as a par 4.”
No. 3, 404 yards, par 4: A severe dogleg left, with the second shot facing the Pacific breeze. Big hitters might try to take their tee shot over the trees and cut off the dogleg to leave it just short of the green. Otherwise, the tee shot should be a fairway metal over a ravine, but still short of the new bunkers through the fairway. It can be tough to judge the distance to the slightly elevated green, which has deep bunkers on both sides.
2000 rank: 10.
Tony Navarro: “You need to the cut dogleg a lot more than it looks.”
No. 4, 331 yards, par 4: This was the only par 4 that played under par during the U.S. Open, and it begins a beautiful, seven-hole stretch along the ocean. The tee shot must clear a cross bunker. A driver will put the ball just short of the green, although it’s a high risk for a shot demanding accuracy with a bunker to the left and ocean to the right. Most players will hit a fairway metal, leaving a wedge to a green that is surrounded by bunkers and pitches steeply to the front. Anything above the hole leads to a difficult putt.
2000 rank: 17.
John Wood, Hunter Mahan’s caddie: “It’s one of the best birdie chances you’ll have during the U.S. Open.”
No. 5, 195 yards, par 3: A slightly downhill par 3 that Jack Nicklaus designed for the 2000 U.S. Open. It looks as though it has been there from the start, sitting naturally along the Pacific bluffs. The green is shallow, and with the hole exposed by the wind, club selection is never easy. The safe play, no matter the hole location, is left center of the green. Small bunkers guard the front of the green, with a larger bunker back and left.
John Wood: “It’s a hole that I think most guys, if you asked them right now, would take it 15 feet on the front end in the middle no matter where the pin is for four days in a row.”
No. 6, 523 yards, par 5: The easiest hole in the 2000 U.S. Open, this will require a stronger driver than before. The tee shot must avoid a cluster of bunkers on the left, and the rough has been mowed on the right side so that wayward shots no longer will be prevented from going over the cliff into Stillwater Cove. The second shot is blind, going over a steep hill with long bunkers down the left side to a green guarded by bunkers on both sides.
John Wood: “The best scoring chance at Pebble Beach.”
No. 7, 109 yards, par 3: One of signature holes that is frightening despite it being a flip wedge away. Depending on the wind, this can be anything from a soft sand wedge to a hard 6-iron. The green is small and guarded by a series of six bunkers, large and small, with the most daunting hazard the ocean to the right and behind the green.
Jim “Bones” Mackay, Phil Mickelson’s caddie: “It’s a hole that if you hit a precise shot you can make a 2. But if it gets away from you, and you get your ball up in the wind, it can get ugly.”
No. 8, 428 yards, par 4: One of the greatest second shots in golf. The tee shot, usually a 3-wood, is blind to a fairway that runs out at about 275 yards, depending on the angle. A white rock in the hill that served as an aiming point has been removed because the USGA has brought the fairway in from the left by some 25 yards. The approach is over the ocean to a small green that slopes severely to the front. Two bunkers behind the green catch shots that go long. Another bunker is short of the green, assuming the shot clears the ocean.
Jim “Bones” Mackay: “The second shot is so demanding; it’s arguably one of the hardest clubs to pull in professional golf.”
No. 9, 505 yards, par 4: This played the toughest hole in 2000. A new championship tee can add up to 40 yards to this hole, which is all about the wind. The ocean runs the entire length of the right side, and the key is a properly placed tee shot to leave a mid-iron into the green. The second shot usually is a sidehill lie, adding to the difficulty. A gully with two bunkers is short and to the left, although it could come into play if the wind is against players, or they hit their tee shot into the rough.
Jim “Bones” Mackay: “If you don’t hit the ball in the fairway, you can forget it.”
No. 10, 495 yards, par 4: A new tee has added nearly 50 yards to this hole, which plays similar to No. 9. The ocean again runs the entire length of the right side, and the fairway slopes severely to the ocean. The green sits on a bluff, with a steep drop to the beach on the right, and bunkers catching anything that misses long or left. The green slopes severely toward the ocean.
Mike “Fluff” Cowan, Jim Furyk’s caddie: “It’s a good, hard hole. Par there is a great score.”
No. 11, 390 yards, par 4: A fairly simple tee shot is followed by an approach that is more demanding than meets the eye. This hole runs away from the ocean and typically is a fairway metal off the tee. The second shot is a short iron, but it is uphill. Taking too much club can be trouble, for the green slopes severely to the front. Bunkers are prevalent back and right of the green.
Mike “Fluff” Cowan: “One of the toughest greens on the golf course. You’d like to think you’re making birdie there, but you’ll be happy to make four pars during the U.S. Open.”
No. 12, 202 yards, par 3: Clustered bunkers make this hole look closer than it is, and the green is wide but shallow. A large bunker protects most of the entrance to the green, and with U.S. Open greens typically firm, it will require a mid-iron hit very high. The best miss is short and right, except for the front left hole locations. Trees down the right make judging the wind difficult.
Mike “Fluff” Cowan: “It’s the hardest green to hold of the par 3s.”
No. 13, 445 yards, par 4: A new tee has added nearly 40 yards to this uphill, slight dogleg to the right. A bunker complex protects the left side of the fairway, with three small bunkers on the right. The challenge is the approach, which will require at least one more club because of the elevation. The green slopes hard to the left, so anything right of the pin makes for a difficult two-putt.
Bobby Brown, Dustin Johnson’s caddie: “The trickiest green on the golf course. If you make four 4s during the U.S. Open, you’ve lapped the field.”
No. 14, 580 yards, par 5: This might be the toughest par 5 in major championship golf. Only the big hitters can think about getting home in two, yet the difficulty can be from off the green, whether that’s 10 yards or 100 yards. Taking on the dogleg right brings two big bunkers into play. The green, protected by a deep bunker in the front, is elevated. Left of the green has been shaved, meaning chips go to the other side of the green or come back at a player’s feet. Making a par on this hole is not giving up a shot to the field.
Bobby Brown: “Don’t be surprised to see a double-digit number this year. Someone is going to get hung up on the left, and it’s not going to be good.”
No. 15, 397 yards, par 4: Seventeen Mile Drive down the right of the hole is out-of-bounds and a series of bunkers is on the left. This should be a straightforward tee shot, leaving a short iron or a wedge to the green, which slopes severely to the left.
Bobby Brown: “There’s nothing really special to that hole. That should be a birdie hole, even for the U.S. Open.”
No. 16, 403 yards, par 4: Players must find the fairway at any cost, even with a fairway metal in hand. The tee shot must clear an island bunker, although driver can leave an awkward, downhill lie. The approach is over a ravine to a difficult green, which has a deep bunker short of it, a small bunker for shots that fly the green and trees to the left. The green pitches fiercely to the left.
Steve Williams, Tiger Woods’ caddie: “One of the more underrated, difficult holes at Pebble Beach. You have to get the ball in the fairway, and then you have to have the ball under the hole.”
No. 17, 208 yards, par 3: This famous par 3 is where Jack Nicklaus hit the pin with a 1-iron in 1972, and Tom Watson chipped in for birdied to win in 1982. It typically plays right into the Pacific wind to an hourglass green protected by a massive bunker in the front and smaller bunkers over the green. It was the toughest par 3 in 2000, and the third-hardest hole.
Steve Williams: “I don’t believe on that hole there is an easy hole location.”
No. 18, 543 yards, par 5: One of the most picturesque closing holes in golf, with the Pacific Ocean running down the left side and a sea wall keeping the crashing surf out of the bunker. It’s easy to make a par, challenging when a player has to make a birdie. To shorten the hole requires a tee shot between the ocean and two trees in the center of the fairway. The green is protected by a deep bunker to the right, and towering pine that forces players to keep it left and bring the ocean more into play.
Steve Williams: “If you’re playing to make 5, it’s a pretty easy hole. If you need to make 4, you’ve got to avoid trouble. If you take it on, you’ve got to be aggressive.”