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Rebuilt green leads to an old tee at Pebble Beach

Tuesday - 2/11/2014, 6:03pm  ET

AP Golf Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- One of the most gorgeous tee shots at Pebble Beach is one that hardly anyone hits.

At least for now.

Pebble Beach officials were rebuilding the ninth green last year when they discovered from photos of the 1929 U.S. Amateur a tiny sliver of land just to the right of the green. It was a tee box of the par-4 10th hole along the ocean. The tee box never went away, rather it was buried beneath high grass.

R.J. Harper, the executive vice president of golf and retail, figured it was the perfect time to put it back.

The 10th hole goes out to the farthest point at Pebble Beach, a par 4 that is 448 yards for PGA Tour competition, and 495 yards for the most recent U.S. Open. With this tiny tee box directly to the right of the ninth green, Harper said the hole measures 349 yards.

Since it was restored, the tee has been used only for a couple of special occasions. It's a traffic issue. To use that tee, players could only exit to the left in front or behind the ninth green, which would hold up play on the ninth hole.

But it's a cool shot -- directly over the ocean, with players able to take on as much as they want. And with the U.S. Amateur coming in 2018 and the U.S. Open the next year, one thought is for the tee to be used for one round. With a helping wind in summer months, big hitters might be tempted to go for the green.

"Mike Davis knows that it's there," Harper said of the USGA's executive director. "He's coming out in the next few months."

It got the attention of players on the ninth green, to see the small, rectangular box between the green and the cliff.

"It looked really cool," Jordan Spieth said. "Doesn't look like it's going to be used because it's a lot shorter hole from there. But if it was up another 30 yards, it makes it almost drivable. And that would be a really cool hole if 10 was drivable with the water sticking in there, and the way the green is shaped. That would be a pretty awesome hole."

Would be for the green?

"If I'm under 30 years old, I'll go for it," Spieth said. "If I grow up and I'm smart, I'll probably lay up."

Spieth will be 25 when the U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach.


THE GOLDEN STATE: Not even a week of rain at Pebble Beach can take away the memory of golden sunshine on Paul McGinley's first trip to California.

The Ryder Cup captain had never left Ireland when he saved up his money to travel to San Diego to attend U.S. International. Given his limited funds, McGinley's flight took him from Dublin to New York to Chicago to Los Angeles to San Diego in late December.

"This is how innocent I was," McGinley said. "I was 22 years old. When I got to LA, I wanted to go outside. I wanted to feel the temperature. I had never experienced sunshine in December, and I wanted to see what it felt like."

He finally made it to San Diego late at night, and he had a day of leisure before reporting to school.

"I remember the next day I wanted to see the beach," he said. "I was just out of Ireland -- I had a much stronger accent than I do now -- and I saw La Jolla on the bus, and I knew that was the beach. It was three minutes trying to tell the guy where I wanted to go."

Trouble was, McGinley thought it was pronounced "La JAH-luh" instead of "La-HOY-ya."

"This guy had no idea what I was saying with my thick Irish accent," he said. "I ended up pointing to the front of the bus."


SPEEDY SNEDS: Brandt Snedeker and Brian Gay played together in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. When the third round was halted by darkness, Gay was still on the 16th hole, and Snedeker was done with his round.

Hey, he is one of the quickest players in golf. This move, however, required a little imagination.

Snedeker was 8-over for the tournament with no chance of making the cut. Walking off the 16th tee Saturday evening, the players ran into a rules official who said they were 10 minutes away from blowing the horn to stop play. When darkness is involved, a player has the option of finishing the hole he is on.

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