Love or hate No 17 at TPC Sawgrass

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 2, 2010, 8:46 am

The island green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass has been the recipient of plenty of cheers and jeers over the years. Tiger Woods called it 'too gimmicky' and Mark Calcavecchia said, 'It's like having a 3 o'clock appointment for a root canal.' Travel editor Erik Peterson and the Golf Guy trade Punch Shots on its significance.


I’ve watched the drama for 25 some-odd years.

And then I finally experienced it myself just prior to this year's Players Championship.

Hook, line . . . and sinker. Literally. The par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass is flat-out one of the greatest holes in all of golf. Period. Exclamation point!!!

It is, perhaps, what Hollywood wishes from all its movies. Think Titanic meets Good Fellas meets Waterworld meets Caddyshack.

You see, there are plenty of other bland par-3 17th holes on the PGA Tour. I dare you to name just a few. Simple fact is, the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass has become bigger than the game. There, I said it. The entertainment value is just that important.

The so-called 'golf purists' generally try to complain about what a gimmick hole it is. They for some reason think that the sport is above 'entertainment.'

Well, guess what? The entire sport lives on the fact that it is purely entertainment. We don't need to watch golf. We choose too because it's entertaining.

And those who do watch do so for reasons that provide some fun. Some drama. Some entertainment.

And not one single hole on the entire PGA Tour schedule provides the whole enchilada like the par-3 17th at TPC Sawgrass.

I can't imagine why anyone would actually argue against how awesome this legendary golf hole is and has become. They're probably the type of people who you wouldn't want to invite to a party.

For the rest of us, we will continue to enjoy the show. Thanks Pete Dye. And his wife Alice as well.   




This week all eyes are on TPC Sawgrass and its diabolical 17th hole. But with Nos. 16 and 18 requiring more length and accuracy than the island green par-3, you could make a case for 17 being the easiest of the final three holes and thus, not all it’s cracked up to be.

To be clear, 17 is indeed a difficult hole, and exciting as all get-out for the fans. Despite its meager yardage there’s a fine line between wet and dry, and par is a daunting task no matter how good you are. But the fact remains 17 is the easiest approach shot on the last three holes. In fact, there are three shots that blow the 9-iron at 17 out of the water:

Second shot at 16 – At 523 yards the par-5 16th is short by PGA Tour standards, but its inviting yardage makes going for it tough to resist, despite water right and a fairway leading into the green that’s as narrow as a bowling alley. Even those who lay up at 16 have to consider the imposing tree short of the green.

Tee shot at 18 – Arguably the toughest tee shot on the PGA Tour, this 462-yard par-4 has water all along the left and heavy rough awaiting those who bail out right. On Sunday when the wind’s blowing and the tournament’s on the line, there isn’t a more intimidating final tee shot in all of golf.

Second shot at 18 – If you don’t think the approach shot at 18 is a rollercoaster of emotion unlike any other shot at TPC Sawgrass, just ask Hal Sutton. “Be the right club, today… Yes,” is one of the great audio clips in Players’ history, and reveals true uncertainty in the voice of a man many consider one of the best ball strikers in golf.

17 strikes fear into all who play it, but 16 and 18 require more skill, focus and determination.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.