Pebble No Stone Unturned

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A nerve has been struck. Yours truly wrote Wednesday about the extensive course changes that have been made, and continue to be made, at Pebble Beach in advance of the 2010 U.S. Open there.
 
The gist of the changes is that fairways have been extended right up to the coastline hazards on six holes. More drives are going to end up wet without a significant cut of rough to keep them from tumbling off the cliffs.
 
The Comebacker loves to strike nerves. It is the lifeblood of The Comebacker to respond to e-mails about controversial subjects. And when it comes to Pebble Beach there is no shortage of opinions.
 
Without further ado:
 
Todd writes: With the winter drought that we are experiencing here on the Monterey Peninsula, the fairways may indeed be much faster than anyone could imagine in February. With temperatures in the high 70s and no rain in sight, the 'new hazards' may come into play sooner than anyone expected.
 
The Comebacker Think about it: The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is just that ' a pro-am. Can you say six and a half hour rounds?
 

Colin writes:This ought to be interesting. I just love watching pro golfers make double bogey. Tiger beat up a course (Pebble Beach at the 2000 U.S. Open) when nobody else could make par, and they want to make it harder. People will watch Tiger no matter what he shoots. They will not watch Phil shoot 80.The USGA better hope Tiger is in contention. One of the reason I watch golf is to see great players make great shots, not watch them decide where the ball crossed the hazard.
 
The Comebacker Colin, youre all over the map. Let me just say this: The USGA doesnt need to have Tiger in contention. As big as Woods is ' and I believe hes bigger than anybody in the history of the game ' he is not bigger than The Masters or the U.S. Open.
 

Jay writes: Nice preview to the new Pebble Beach. I thought you might like to know that for those players that haven't played No. 15 recently, many will be surprised to learn about the new/enhanced bunkers that have been added down the left side. One of them even has a built-in ladder to maneuver in and out of...so all kinds of changes are in store for the show this time. One other thing to consider: We are having a very dry winter so far here in the (Del Monte) forest. If this trend continues next year, look for greens and sloping fairways to be a much larger factor...which should bode well for the field vs. Tiger. When the greens are moist, Tiger has a clear advantage with his trajectory and distance control. The real story in '10 though for Monterey, will be Tiger's return to the Peninsula. Just his presence alone is good for a $50M boost to the local economy.
 
The Comebacker It always seems to come back (no pun intended) to Tiger, doesnt it?
 

Wayne writes: I had the chance to play Pebble for the last two years during the month of December and of course, the first year I was in awe of all the surroundings and the icon of Pebble itself. Then last year I was more relaxed and enjoyed my round totally, even thought I shot a combined eight shots more than the year before. As a 12 handicap, I do have issues out there as well as other courses, but all in all, Pebble is one of a kind as are the other courses in Monterey. My personal favorite is Spanish Bay, as I shot a round of 84 there last December and was thrilled.
 
The Comebacker Happy for you, Wayne. But why do I get the idea that one of the first things you bring up at cocktail parties is your Pebble Beach stories.
 

John writes: I have no doubt that once players understand the purpose of the restoration they will embrace it with open arms.
 
The Comebacker Dream on, Johnny boy. The Comebacker has no doubt there will be complaining, at the very least at the 2010 U.S. Open. Actually, I think they teach a course on it at Q-School.
 

Doug writes: I played Pebble Beach more than 30 years ago, calling for a tee time the same morning I played, and the price, with cart, was $55.00. It was and remains the most memorable course I ever played. I think the changes you describe will be great. I am used to seeing deep rough in major championships, and watching the pros hack out from there. Shortening the rough is certainly an opposite for a major, and I for one, am looking forward to seeing how the pros cope. One thing I recall about No. 6 is television does not come close to the actual visual when you are standing on the fairway, looking towards the green, and you have to hit across Stillwater Cove. A scary sight indeed for an amateur.
 
The Comebacker The thing about Pebble Beach is this: Its the most visually distracting golf course in the world. There is so much beauty in every direction that its hard to stay in your shot. Also, on a sunny day on the Monterey Peninsula, the reds are redder, the greens are greener and the blues are bluer. One word: Kodachrome.
 

Michael writes: I played there last April for the first time and No. 6 will be diabolical, but then they deserve that. If you fade the ball, better bring a draw or WD.
 
The Comebacker
There you go.
 

Alex writes: Here we go again, changing courses to fit the equipment instead of the other way around. My favorite analogy is with the game of baseball. Ballparks are not being constantly enlarged to accommodate souped-up bats and balls, so why do we continue to make these 7000+ plus yard monsters? The lords of golf continue to shamelessly kowtow to the equipment manufacturers and kiss their offered hand so they will continue the big dollar cash flow. And shame on the USGA for not having any backbone. Where is the tournament ball that was suggested as far back as in Bobby Jones' day? Someone has got to stop this madness.
 
The Comebacker My first thought in response is to remind you that last years U.S. Open at Torrey Pines was close to 7,600 yards. And it was pretty good stuff, as I recall. Pebbles only going up to 7,014 for the 2010 U.S. Open. I wouldnt call that a souped-up monster.
 

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