LOS ANGELES – Jack Nicklaus loves Riviera’s 10th hole as a thinking man’s short par 4.
“I love option holes, and this one has more than any short par 4 I know,” Nicklaus once said.
Early in Thursday’s first round of the Northern Trust Open, there were so many options, it made a player’s brain hurt. Playing the 315-yard hole without the help of painkillers seemed the bravest option.
With the Santa Ana winds blowing hard toward the hole early, just about everyone tried to drive the green in the morning wave. Still, making par from just off the green was a brutal proposition.
Defending champion Aaron Baddeley just missed the green right in a bunker with his drive. He blasted through the green into a little valley on the left. His third shot, a flop, was short and rolled back down the hill to his feet. His fourth, a flop, was well done getting to within 5 feet. He holed that for a bogey.
Bubba Watson just missed driving the green, his tee shot trickling into that valley just left of the green where Baddeley played. Watson tried to putt it up the hill, but he didn’t hit it hard enough and watched the ball roll back down the hill toward him. His third, a flop shot, fell short in the bunker. He holed his fourth shot for a most unusual par.