August 29 2013
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
The 18th green at TPC Boston got an overhaul before last year’s Deutsche Bank Championship with the intent of adding a little risk/reward excitement for its Labor Day Monday finish.
The results didn’t exactly live up to expectations.
The smaller, more contoured target made scarcely a dent in the hole’s statistics – the par-5 closer played to a 4.644 scoring average compared to 4.500 one year earlier. Just four double bogeys and one "other" were recorded for the week.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, one might recall Luke Donald’s surprising Twitter rant after a bogey that began with his second shot flying the green, followed by two chips that got his blood pressure rising.
“Nothing quite like hitting my best shot of the day into the last and walking off with a bogie, what a terribly re-designed green,” Donald said, ending his missive with the hashtag #sourtaste.
Other players, though, suggested they understood where Donald was coming from.
“I don’t think this green on the 18th hole plays (the way) he wanted it to play,” said Phil Mickelson, also a critic of the previous design. “There’s too many perfectly struck shots getting ridiculously penalized.”
At 530 yards, most players can easily reach the green in two. But the putting surface now is 30 percent smaller than two years ago and more uphill.
A closely mown area sits as much as 6 feet below the putting surface, and wetlands on the right also come into play. On the plus side, there’s more landing area in front of the green where players can try to run the ball up.
“That’s a really, really difficult shot,” Tiger Woods said. “Based on the pin, we’ve got to figure out where the spot is to miss it.”