Players could have a different angle to the pin when hitting shots on No. 16. (Martin/Getty Images)
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
The shortest hole at Sedgefield Country Club is just a little stouter this year.
A new tee box has been added at the par-3 16th, allowing officials to extend the hole by as many as 20 yards for this year’s Wyndham Championship. It goes down as a 10-yard increase on the scorecard, now listed as 175 yards.
“I don’t think they’ll use it every day,” Sedgefield superintendent Keith Wood said, “but you’ll see it at least a couple of days.”
The new tee also is positioned left of the others, which could change the target line based on the pin position. The tee shot is anywhere from a 7-iron to 9-iron, with players intent on keeping the ball below the hole and out of 4-foot-deep bunkers that guard the front corners.
No. 16 ranked as the Wyndham’s fourth-easiest hole last year, with 125 birdies against just 48 bogeys, one double bogey and a triple. The hole’s 2.843 scoring average was its second lowest since the tournament returned to Sedgefield in 2008.
Interestingly, all five Wyndham champions since the return have birdied No. 16 on Sunday.
It was the last of Ryan Moore’s five straight birdies in 2009 that helped him into a playoff against Jason Bohn and Kevin Stadler. One year later, No. 16 was Arjun Atwal’s final birdie in his improbable win after getting into the field as a Monday qualifier.
No. 16 is recalled less fondly by Arnold Palmer, who took a two-stroke lead to the tee in 1972 before dunking his shot into the water short and right. The triple bogey left him one shot out of a playoff, costing the Wake Forest alum his best chance at winning in the shadow of his alma mater.
During 2008 ceremonies marking the tournament’s return to Sedgefield, Palmer quipped to reporters: “Can I go back and play the 16th?”