PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Jordan Spieth’s bold second shot over a cliff on the par-4 eighth hole of last year’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am will be harder to replicate this year thanks to an adjustment by the resort in partly because of patrons attempting to recreate Spieth’s shot while playing the course.
Gary Young, the PGA Tour’s chief umpire for this week, told ESPN on Wednesday that he met with representatives from Pebble Beach on Tuesday night who said that during play at the resort they were forced to back off the red danger line and make sure the rough was thick. enough to prevent balls from running out where Spieth’s tee shot landed last year as guests tried to mimic the shot.
“We painted the line where we traditionally have it,” Young said of this week’s setup. “I know as a club they’re making a concerted effort to try and move that line further. Station play is their concern, and they just want to make sure they’re doing everything that they can discourage people from taking this shot.”
Last year, Spieth decided to take the shot against the wishes of his caddie, Michael Greller, who was advised to take a penalty. The three-time major winner pulled off a dangerous and lopsided swing that forced him back from the bluff as he hit the ball. The shot worked, as Spieth saved par on the hole, but he regretted the decision afterwards. On Wednesday, he was again questioned about the shooting.
“I think I saved a stroke,” Spieth said. “Does the reward outweigh the risk? Not if you think the risk was dying. But I, too, felt like I could hit it over water with a 7 iron and get him up close to the green. And I thought close to the green would be easier than hitting an iron 7 to 10 yards back. And, yeah, I think now I know my son a lot better, he was very young at at the time, I may not have succeeded in this coup.
Spieth said this week he noticed the grass had “grown over the edge” but didn’t think that solved the larger problem.
“It stops bullets that may have gone through before,” Spieth said. “So there’s no win here. I think I really messed things up hitting this because I don’t really know the solution. Other than razing it completely so that no matter what, it goes straight in, and it has less of a chance of stopping short. I don’t really know. Because you can’t put a fence there, because your second shot will hit the fence.
“It’s downright terrifying right now.”
This Jordan Spieth shot was quite the situation. 😬 pic.twitter.com/sq04R96GXQ
— Golf on CBS ⛳ (@GolfonCBS) February 5, 2022
Young said the station normally has a sign that encourages customers to avoid approaching the edge for any reason, but while the eighth will have no signage discouraging players from shooting this week and the line of Danger will remain in his normal position, the rough should do its job, according to Young.
“The rough is a 2-inch uniform, but it’s a very thick rough,” Young said. “They’re fertilizing the rough pretty heavily in that area. They’re doing everything again, to promote a good piece of thick rough that will prevent a golf ball from racing along the ground across the fairway in that area.”
And as Young pointed out, most people — whether fans of this year’s tournament or resort guests — won’t do it as much as Spieth does anyway.