Until today, I wanted Mike Davis and the USGA Open set-up committee to make the 4th hole the “short par four of the week.” Driveable it could be, but what gnawed at the back of my lid was its placement in the round…too early. As I wandered out to the 9th (normally the 1st at Sebonack) hole around 11, I realized that this was the perfect hole to set up on Sunday for the eagle challenge.
Reason #1: It CAN be driven. Remember the 16th at Oakmont when Cabrera won the Open? Nobody really drove it, even though it was driveable. This hole, reminiscent of a piece of St. Andrews as you near the green, has all the folds and rumples of an ornate dinner napkin, yet once you carry the right-side fairway bunkers (doable from the up tees) it’s a bounce or two and on you are, putting for deuce. If you take a look at the images in the gallery, the ladies were flipping partial wedges at the green today, from the farthest-back deck.
Reason #2: It has perfect placement in the round and on the course. This 9th green is near the 18th green, 1st and 10th tees. You can’t but hear the roars of a green driven or an eagle putt holed. Today you could hear the rowdies from next door in that corner of the course. Imagine a golfer just out of sight of the leaders making two or (grant us this, o Lord) one and picking up 2 or 3 strokes on the field. How fired up would she be heading to the back nine?
Just two reasons, mind you. Don’t want to bore you with the surmised details. Here is a gallery from that corner of the course, little old number nine.