NORTON, Mass. – Luke Donald’s inadvertent and harsh take aside, architect Gil Hanse said player reaction to the rebuilt 18th green at TPC Boston has been constructive if not varied.
“The reaction has been mixed,” Hanse said on Sunday. “There are some guys who don’t like it and other guys who have either not said anything or a few who said they like it. It’s more challenging and it’s different, but all in all it’s playable.”
The redesign features a drastically reduced putting surface at the par 5, the addition of a new bunker on the front-left portion of the green and a deep chipping area behind the putting surface.
Before the change players were able to miss the green long, even into the grandstands, and had a relatively easy up-and-down from the rough for birdie.
Still, change does not come easy on the PGA Tour and some, most notably Donald who caused a stir on Sunday when he accidently sent out a tweet criticizing the redesign, have been critical of the drastic undulations on the new green.
“I'm still not that keen on it,” said Donald, who apologized for the tweet. “I think the Tour has done a great job in terms of making this course a lot better. I just think some of the design in that hole is a little severe.”
For the week, the 18th is playing harder statistically. Last year the hole played to a 4.50 average with 19 eagles, 165 birdies and 23 bogeys. Through three rounds this year the hole has a 4.650 average, 14 eagles, 106 birdies and 28 bogeys.
“We just wanted to create a little more interesting finish,” Hanse said. “If that translated to the hole being harder, fine; and if it was easier that was fine. It was never the goal to go out and make the hole more difficult.”