Punch Shots: Best Pete Dye golf course you've ever played?

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 8, 2012, 7:53 pm

Pete Dye's architecture portfolio is one of the game's best - and certainly the toughest. Our experts weigh in on the best Dye design they've encountered in their golf travels. 

Brandon Tucker: River Course at Blackwolf Run

I've played ten Pete Dye courses by my count (plus a few more P.B. designs), and while playing the TPC Sawgrass last year was a real treat, my favorite can be found up in Kohler, Wisconsin.

It's not high-profile Whistling Straits on Lake Michigan, but the River Course at Blackwolf Run. Dye took a gorgeous parkland setting full of hills and a meandering Sheboygan river and the result is a tough test (like all Dyes) but something far more peaceful and relaxing woodland setting compared to the in-your-face Straits. The early holes feature a few marvelous elevated tee shots and even (gasp!) a couple birdie opportunities for mid-handicappers playing from the right tees.

I adore short par 4s, and one of the best in existence is the River's 9th hole. You have three options off the tee: go for broke over river the entire way with a driver to reach the green, lay up just short with a hybrid (which requires a shot over tall trees) - or bail out way left like a wuss with a 7-iron. You can guess which option I was baited into (and failed miserably) but I can't wait for another crack at this gem.

Dye seems to have a pretty regular formula for his closing holes: hang on. Low handicappers may be able to score on the par-5 16th, but it's topsy-turvy fairway, trouble to the left and tree in front of the green dutifully ate me alive. The 18th here is not all that unlike Sawgrass's closer and ensured I was humbled by round's end. 

The River was recently redesigned in lieu of this year's U.S. Women's Open, and will in all likelihood even better the next time I make it here.

Mike Bailey: Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass

Any discussion of Pete Dye courses certainly begins with his most famous: The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. It's best known for the island green 17th, but there is so much more to this course than the cheek-clinching par 3. Home of the so-called fifth major, The PLAYERS Championship, this beast gives the best field in golf fits.

There was a time when the golf community thumbed its nose at Sawgrass. But for many, ever since 1982 Players champion Jerry Pate took the plunge with Dye and then PGA Tour commissioner Deane Beman, The Players Stadium Course is a modern classic. 

By the way, Dye doesn't design courses for every level of player, and this is the perfect example. There's water and forced carries everywhere, and while the high handicapper can enjoy following in the footsteps of the pros, this course was designed to test the best – pure and simple. Most of us can forget about shooting our handicap.

The 17th green was softened somewhat before the 2012 PLAYERS, but that should be of no surprise. This course has been tweaked most every year since it opened in 1981, and in 2007 the course got new greens, subsurface aeration and new grasses.

The 17th is really just part of a great finishing stretch. The 16th is the ultimate risk-reward par 5. The 18th is a monster par 4 with water all down the left, trees to the right and a well-protected green. But really, every hole on this golf course gets your attention. It's never boring, and Dye dictates your shots. Those who challenge him have to be prepared for the consequences, but every once in a while, somebody outsmarts him.

Jason Deegan: Ocean Course at Kiawah Island

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island is quintessential Pete Dye. It’s bold, beautiful, beastly and just might personify Dye’s devious brand of architecture more than any other course he’s done.

Dramatic theatre introduced the Ocean course to the world at the 'War by the Shore' Ryder Cup in 1991. In 2011, Golf Digest ranked the Ocean course No. 1 as the toughest course in America. From one day to the next, there can be an eight-club change in the winds that swirl along the eastern-most shore of the island.

Dye continues to fiddle with the design, much like Donald Ross continually tweaked his beloved Pinehurst No. 2. Minor modifications have prepped it for the 2012 PGA Championship. New back tees can play in excess of 7,500 yards. Both the tee and the green on No. 18 have been repositioned closer to the beach within the past decade to enhance the connection to the Atlantic Ocean. Ten of its holes run seaside. At the suggestion of his wife, Alice, Dye built up the fairways, so ocean views can be enjoyed throughout the round.

Ponds and marshes pinch many of the fairways and green sites, demanding precise golf. Playing the Ocean course is not only an examination of a man’s golf game but his grit, heart and wits. Thankfully, world-class caddies assist with the journey, and pampering awaits back at the resort after post-round drinks in the magnificent clubhouse.

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Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.


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“Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

“I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

“I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”


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On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

“We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.


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Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

• Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

• Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

• Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”