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By JAMES ACHENBACH
SAN DIEGO – After several weeks of mystery and speculation about whether or not the 14th hole at Torrey Pines South would be played as a reachable par 4 during the U.S. Open, it was revealed late Friday that the hole will indeed be played as a 277-yard par 4 during Sunday’s final round.
For the first two rounds, the hole has been played at 435 yards, and this will be the case in Saturday’s third round as well.
“I’ve known for two years I wanted to do this (make it a reachable par 4), and we’re going to do it for the final round,” said Mike Davis, USGA senior director of rules and competitions. “The philosophy is this: You want the hole at a length where every player is forced to make a decision about how he will play it. Having the hole in the middle of the back nine is ideal, and I think it will be very, very exciting.”
Playing 14 as a short par 4, a golfer cannot hit his ball left or long. In either case, the ball will end up in one of the infamous Torrey Pines canyons.
A large kidney-shaped bunker guards the right side of the green. High grass and several large trees are situated to the right of the fairway.
Davis also revealed that the par-5 13th will be played from its new back tee during the final round. This tee requires a carry ranging from 235 yards to 255 yards, depending on which line a player chooses to take. The length of the hole is listed at 614 yards.
The front tee on 13 will be used for Saturday’s third round, along with a front hole location.
“That front hole location is very difficult,” Davis said, “so the hole definitely won’t be a pushover. I think it will be extremely interesting.”
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James Achenbach is a Golfweek senior writer. To reach him e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.