Evian Championship officials have waved a magic wand over the 18th hole this year, transforming it from a brutal finishing hole to what they hope is an exciting risk-reward hole full of dramatic possibilities.
OK, it wasn’t the work of a magic wand, but a simple switch in the designation of par was made to add some enchantment to Sunday’s finish.
Now, the experience won’t be so much the grind of watching players trying to avoid the trouble there and salvage par. It will be watching players try to make eagle there. There’s potentially more intrigue with players going for the green in two, with water and bunkers guarding that hole.
“Bogeys won't be winning,” Jessica Korda said. “You don't want to see bad [scores at] finishing holes, especially with the leader. You just don't want to see that. Not good for golf. It's not good for anyone. This is definitely the right move. Very happy.”
The hole has played tough since it was converted to a par 4 before the championship was designated a major back in 2013.
It played to 441 yards on the scorecard as a par 4 last year. It could play up to 484 yards this year as a par 5.
“I think it's going to be a really good finishing hole, and I'm really happy that it's back to that, versus a par-4,” Korda said. “Kind of a risk-reward type of deal. That green is not easy. There are a lot of hazards. It's not a gimme out of any of those bunkers, depending on where those pins are.”
Rolex world No. 1 Sung Hyun Park likes the change, too.
“I believe it’s going to be more fun now,” Park said.