We all have a hole on which we’re shaky and lacking confidence. Water on the left, water on the right, or water everywhere. We grip it, take a few extra waggles and looks at the hole without even really being focused on the shot itself. All we want is to have that little white ball end up on dry land, avoiding our buddies’ chuckles right before they make their very own contribution to the lake.
The pros never seem like they have that problem, no matter which hole they’re on. They just stick to their routine, swing away and succeed almost every time. Well, ladies and gentlemen, there is that one hole on which - I guarantee you - there’s not a single golfer, dead or alive, that would be comfortable standing over that tee shot. First, imagine a hole of barely 135 yards, with a fairly large 4000 square feet green. Piece of cake right? Now add a pot bunker just in front of that green, guarding the front-center. No big deal, just take a little more club they say… Now the fun begins, add water ALL AROUND THE GREEN. No trees, just water. That means the wind is gusting all day long, making the shot that much harder to judge. Sorry, I’m not done. There is not a single easy hole location on that green either, period.
Front left? Don’t you dare miss long, you’ll end up with a putt so much downhill that you could very well putt it down in the water and have to walk all the way back to the drop zone:
Back left? That’s when the water comes into play (it’s always in play, don’t get me wrong), but since we all want to get it on that top plateau, many balls end up missing long. If not, you’re left with a devilish up-hill left-to-righter:
Back right? Yeah, not much to say about this one…You probably have a 10 square feet area within which you can land it in order to avoid a nice “leg-in leg-out” bunker shot or a re-tee. Good times. The safe play is to aim towards the center of the green and hope for the slope to take it:
Let’s just say that there are a lot more bad memories about this hole than there are good ones. Sergio Garcia failed to hit the green twice in 2013, carding a quadruple-bogey 7 that obviously ended up costing him the tournament. Bob Tway hit 4 consecutive balls in the water and finally hit the green on his 5th attempt but three-putted for a 12… Yes, you read that right.
Sergio Garcia hitting a couple in the water at 17:
On a more positive note, Freddy Couples hit only two shots but carded a par back in 1999. After he put his tee shot in the water, he re-teed and dunked his 3rd for a not-so-common par.
We also can’t mention special shots at 17 without bringing up the 60-footer, triple breaker, down the hill that Tiger made when he won his 2001 Players. If that doesn't ring a bell, Gary Koch’s “Better than most…. Better than most!” quote might refresh your memory.
Tiger with his impressive 60-footer:
No matter who you are or how confident you may be, the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass will always have the upper hand.