LOS ANGELES – Jack Nicklaus said he loved the 10th hole at Riviera 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.
There are probably more than a few pros who would like the option of playing through in a bulldozer. It’s one of the most treacherous short par 4s in the game at 315 yards.
Fred Couples thinks the hole is becoming too confounding.
“They might need to evaluate that green in the near future,” Couples said after posting a 3-under-par 68 in the first round of the Northern Trust Open. “It’s brutal. It’s a tough, tough hole, and now it’s even harder since they’ve shaved everything.”
The hole tempts player to drive the green, but misses are punishing. Couples hit his tee shot in the bunker left of the green, splashed to 24 feet and sneaked away with a two-putt par.
Couples said it wasn’t so long ago that he would step to the 10th tee and tell his caddie to go ahead and put a 3 on his scorecard there.
“That’s not being cocky,” Couples said. “Now, I would take a four and run to the next hole. The green has become so sloped and so narrow in the back, that it is a brutal hole.”
First-round leader Matt Kuchar did not mind it much Thursday. Of the first 100 players to tee it up there in the first round, Kuchar was one of just two players who drove the green. He two putted for birdie.