Since 156 players will be squeezed onto Pebble Beach Golf Links for the first two days of the U.S. Open this year, tee times will start on Nos. 1 and 10.

On the first hole, players will have a straightforward 230-yard lay-up shot.

On the 10th hole, they'll have to stripe a driver between bunkers on the left and the Carmel Beach on the right — and they'll also have to contend with wind and a steeply sloped left-to-right fairway that sweeps balls toward the water.

And one more thing: the par 4 has been stretched to 495 yards, or 49 yards longer than it was for the 2000 U.S, Open, when it had a scoring average of 4.385 — the fifth toughest overall.

"I laughed at R.J. Harper when he showed me where the tee on No.

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10 might go," said Davis Love III during last year's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

It went there, although the United States Golf Association says it reserves the right to move the tees up if the weather forecast is ugly.

From the back tees, it's 313 yards to reach the most prominent bunker on the left-hand side. The ideal line is to start your drive at the right edge of that bunker, and the slope of the fairway will funnel your ball to the middle. The new tee box has also been shifted to the right (it's nearly 150 yards behind the ninth green now) to allow right-handed players to draw their drives away from the ocean.

While the 10th hole has always played tough because of the hanging lies it produces from the fairway, and a green that is protected by sand and cliffs, the old tee had become obsolete.


"If you hit it 285 yards and stay right of the bunker, you go way down there and you're hitting a wedge in," said Harper, the senior Vice President for the Pebble Beach Company. "That's not the way that hole was designed. You don't want to see your really tough holes weakened because of today's equipment."

A 313-yard drive during the U.S. Open will leave close to 180 yards into the green. The approach can be tricky because the edge of a cliff cuts in to protect the front right third of the green, while a bunker swallows up shots that miss left, and another wraps around the back.

"I understand it," said Love about adding more yardage. "A little of that is good, I think, because you want Pebble Beach to still be Pebble Beach. You want the hazards to come into play. I like it. I think they've done a great job with this course over the years. They've taken a national treasure and continued to improve it."

One luxury players will have is they'll be hitting to maybe the widest fairway on the course. It's even wider than it plays for resort guests.

"That fairway is pretty close to 70 yards wide," said Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of Rules and Competition. "A driver gets you basically to that bunker on the left, maybe even slightly past. And that is how that hole was designed. It is a very difficult hole, but nonetheless, it's a hole where you should be able to hit the fairway if you hit a proper shot."

Kevin Merfeld can be reached at 646-4457.

No. 10
·Yardage: 495 yards
·Par: 4
·What's new: A new tee makes the hole 49 yards longer.