Which is the best public PGA Tour venue

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 27, 2011, 8:05 pm

From TPC Sawgrass in the Southeast to Pebble Beach along the shores of the Pacific, the PGA Tour schedule is littered with incredible public golf courses. In this edition of Travel Punch Shots, TravelGolf.com senior writers Mike Bailey and Brandon Tucker make their case for the best public PGA Tour venue.


Sure, we all want to play Pebble Beach Golf Links some day, and the resort boasts a price tag to reflect that. But no golf course on the PGA Tour circuit has skyrocketed in street cred the past few years like the South course at Torrey Pines.

A regular PGA Tour stop, this is the course that usually snaps Tiger Woods out of his winter hibernation, and with him comes the first real strong field of the season.

For the golf traveler, Torrey's selling point is this: Of all the current U.S. Open venues, Torrey probably has the best blend of affordability and access. It's a municipal course that allows non-residents to book tee times 90 days out. And you can include it as the feather in the cap of your golf trip to one of the world's great year-round golf markets.

Not only is Torrey Pines far less expensive than Pebble Beach, it's also on the low end of the PGA Tour public venues. Some of the courses that are pricier than Torrey (and aren't a major host) include TPC Sawgrass, TPC Blue Monster, TPC San Antonio, and Harbour Town.

And a round on the South will be filled with vivid, HD TV memories from the 2008 U.S. Open. This is the golf course that will be associated with this generation's greatest duel between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate. And the extra day of playoff action gave us all a great familiarity with the golf course for when we eventually come ourselves.

I think we all know what not to do on the 13th hole, thanks to floppy Phil Mickelson's quadruple bogey in 2008 from the bottom of the slope leading up to the elevated green. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods rattled home an eagle putt on the same hole that will go down as a Top 10 shot in his career – and is sure to cause some (relative) high drama amongst your own foursome.

For non-residents, Torrey Pines isn't exactly a steal at $183-229, but it's less than half the cost of Pebble Beach. So you could play 18 holes, then enjoy a round on the next door North ($100-125) the following day, have drinks and a nice dinner, all for less than the $495 at Pebble. Now that's smart traveling.


This one's easy.

If you polled America's golfers and told them they could play only one more round of golf in their lives, and it had to come from the list of public golf courses on the PGA Tour schedule, they would overwhelmingly check Pebble Beach Golf Links. It wouldn't be close, and it should be unanimous. Playing Pebble is simply magical.

Forget the $495 green fee and lodging requirement – that's not the issue here. And forget the criticism that if Pebble wasn't on the Monterey Peninsula, it would be an ordinary course. That's a moot point. Jack Neville and Douglas Grant designed the golf course around the coastline as it should have been. If it were somewhere else, it would be a different layout.

So with that said, the setting along Carmel Bay alone puts it ahead of 98 percent of all golf courses in the world. The land, sea and cliffs all factor into the experience, and in this case, dominate it. The scenery of San Diego's Torrey Pines is special, too, but it doesn't rank with standing on the tee at the short par-3 7th, wondering whether or not you should hit sand wedge or five-iron.

Sure, the opening hole lacks pizzazz, but look what it's up against: Starting with No. 4 golfers can hardly contain their excitement as they start to make their way along the coastline. It's a stretch of seven holes that's arguably superior to any other stretch on earth, including Augusta National.

And speaking of Augusta National, Pebble has the same mystique. Why? Because Pebble Beach is more than familiar to them. Its five U.S. Opens and the long history of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am mean we know just about every hole out there. Can we say that about Torrey Pines? Most golfers just know that it's on the ocean and that locals get to play for dirt cheap. What they know about Pebble Beach is that it's on the short list of places to play before you die.

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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.