After surviving a stretch of seven straight ocean holes, it would be easy to exhale and relax a little bit when you reach the 11th tee.

You can turn around and enjoy the ocean view, knowing that it won't be in play again until the last two holes. No. 11 starts a stretch of seven straight holes that wander inland.

But while the 11th hole isn't intimidating on the scorecard, it demands precision.

The par 4 measures just 390 yards, and that's after gaining a championship tee box just off the edge of the 10th hole. There was barely room to expand the hole, as the new tee box that adds 10 yards from the 2000 U.S. Open prevents grandstands from overlooking the 10th green.

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But one of the widest fairways on the course for resort play has been slimmed down to one of the narrowest, measuring just 25 yards in width.

The fairway isn't just narrow. It squirms. The United States Golf Association has given the fairway some artistic flair, as it snakes to the right before curving back left like a windy road on 17-Mile Drive.

"The fairways have been reshaped on Nos. 11 and 14, where they've been maybe shifted or there's been a little bit more movement put in the fairways for strategic reasons," said Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of Rules and Competition.

The tee shot is a blind one that gradually climbs up a hill. It will include even more grade for the U.S. Open since the championship tee is left and lower on the hill.


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"The tee box on 11, that looks like it's going to be really difficult," said Padraig Harrington during this year's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. "You're going uphill enough there without going to the lower tee box."

The toughest element about the hole Ð like most holes at Pebble Beach Ð is the green, which is also somewhat blind because it is surrounded by three bunkers.

The green slants at such a diagonal angle that it almost looks horizontal from the fairway. It's one of the steepest on the course, sloping severely from back-to-front. A putt from above the hole might not even stay on the green.

"I would say that these are maybe the scariest greens we've had for a U.S. Open," Davis said. "You get out here and see so many of these greens have a lot of pitch from back-to-front or side-to-side. They're small, and you when get windy conditions, the speed is a very scary speed if you short-side yourself or get on the wrong side of the hole."

In the 2000 U.S. Open, the fairway was pushed left, so that players could shoot up the throat of the green between two bunkers. But since the lay-up area of the fairway is now cut to the right, players will have to hit their approach over one bunker and stop it before another, a landing pad just 13 paces deep.

Players do have the option of attacking the green from the left side of the fairway, but they will have to hit an aggressive tee shot up the hill and risk finding the rough. After the fairway moves right, it swings back left about 90 yards in front of the green, or 300 yards off the tee.

Kevin Merfeld can be reached at 646-4457 and kmerfeld@montereyherald.com.


No. 11
·Yardage: 390 yards
·Par: 4
·What's new: A new tee box adds 10 yards from the 2000 U.S. Open