What was the toughest hole for Tiger Woods during the 2000 U.S. Open?

It was actually the third hole at Pebble Beach, which played all of 390 yards.

Woods played the sweeping dogleg left that spins around toward the ocean in 2-over par, and made a triple-bogey 7 there in the third round. It was one of just three holes he played over par for the championship, and his 7 was his only score higher than bogey.

"Just take your par and run," Woods told the Los Angeles Times before the 2000 U.S. Open.

The hole wasn't quite as daunting to the rest of the field, as it played about middle of the pack — it was the 10th toughest, with a scoring average of 4.216.

Arnold Palmer and the Pebble Beach Company have since wrung out every yard they could, adding a championship tee that makes the hole 404 yards.

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But more importantly, the new tee has been pushed in to the left, giving the hole even more of a boomerang shape. The move also compensates for losing the tallest tree at the corner of the dogleg during the 2009 storm that washed out the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

In 2000, the main obstacle off the tee was the grove of trees at the inside corner of the dogleg that right-handed pros could try to either launch their drives over or draw their shots around to get within 100 yards of the green.

But in 2007, three bunkers were added through the fairway, preventing pros from automatically pulling out driver and blasting away. If the tee shot doesn't take the correct line, or have enough shape to it, one of three deep bunkers can gobble it up.


"It's visually more intimidating, it does make you think about your tee shot, and that in itself is something that architects really want you to do," said RJ Harper, senior Vice President of Golf for the Pebble Beach Company. "From that perspective, I think we might have toughened it. The mental challenge is a little bit tougher."

If pros decide to lay up off the tee, they have 240 yards to clear two bunkers at the beginning of the fairway, but it's only 265 to reach the three bunkers through the fairway. And they'll have to stop their tee shots on crispy U.S. Open fairways that are shaved all the way into those back bunkers.

"As far as difficulty, they are deeper bunkers than most of the fairway bunkers, you've got OB behind a perched green and you've got to carry a greenside bunker," Harper added. "I wouldn't want that shot if I'm in contention at the Open. I'm probably playing to the front of the green and trying to get up and down. It's not going to render a lot of birdies from there, that's for sure."

In 2000, Woods left his second shot — only a wedge — short right in rough between two greenside bunkers. From there, it took him three swings to chop out onto the green before settling for a 7.

The best angle into the green is from the left side of the fairway. Two greenside bunkers guard the right half of the putting surface, and another bunker swallows up shots that miss left. But the left side of the green is unprotected, and players can run their approaches up the mouth to reach the putting surface safely.

Even through the green is sloped from back-to-front with a false front, putts can be swept away by the ocean influence and race toward the back.

No. 3
·Yardage: 404 yards
·Par: 4
·What's new: Three new bunkers through fairway and tee was pushed back 14 yards.