Friday, February 18, 2011

The 10th at Riviera presents risk and reward

The 10th hole at Riviera is one of the most famous short par-4s in the world due to the various challenges and options that it offers.

Listed at 315 yards, the players have the option to try and drive it or lay back in the fairway. The small green is surrounded by bunkers so even if a player lays back, it's still a difficult approach shot, especially with a back right pin position.

Take a tour of the hole

Yesterday, during the first round of the Northern Trust Open, the featured group of Fred Couples, Bubba Watson, and Anthony Kim had some difficulty with the hole.

Watson hit driver short of the left greenside bunker, attempted a flop shot but left it in the bunker, hit his bunker shot about 15 feet short to the fringe, then missed his par putt. He made bogey.

Kim drove it short of the right greenside bunker, hit a flop shot into the bunker, but then made a great bunker shot to get up and down for par.

Couples chose to lay back with an iron off the tee and put himself in good position in the fairway. From 85 yards, he hit his wedge into the right bunker where it plugged, hit his bunker shot to 15 feet, missed the putt, and settled for bogey.

The 10th should have a significant impact on who wins this week.