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THE TEMPTING FOURTH HOLE AT SPYGLASS HILL IS THRILLING AND CHALLENGING BY KEVIN MERFELD


The Siren that is the fourth green at Spyglass Hill still lures Dustin Johnson.


Beyond the wasteland of dunes and


shrubbery—some 310 yards to carry— the fourth hole seduces with a sliver of green, 10 feet peeking out between two shaggy fescue ridges. Johnson can’t help but reach for his


driver while mulling his options on the tee box of the 370-yard par 4, even if it would be diffi cult to drive a car on the green, let alone a golf ball. As narrow as a one-way street, the


fourth green ranges from fi ve to seven diabolical paces wide, yet meanders for 55 yards, dropping seven feet to a bottom tier while ducking to the left and hiding from view. The signature hole, the favorite par 4 Robert Trent Jones ever designed, epitomizes the plight of play- ing Spyglass. The brilliant Jim Murray personifi ed the course by writing, “If it were human, Spy- glass would have a knife in its teeth, a


patch on its eye, a


ring in its ear, tobacco in its beard and blun- derbuss in its hand.” The fourth hole


can be as demoral-


izing as walking the plank, the green barely wider than one. But the swashbuckling Johnson elected to hit driver there when he won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2009 and 2010, sending his tee shot into orbit and dropping it just short and right of the green each time. And each time, Johnson fed his


pitch shot down the sloping green and cleaned up for birdie. He turned the hole into the world’s longest par 3. But in 2011, Johnson turned the hole into the world’s shortest par 8. Johnson yanked his drive some 30


yards left of the green into the unpre- dictable dunes. A bladed blast, another blast into a bush, an unplayable lie, a pitch to the fringe and a missed four- footer led to an 8, wiping out any chance of an AT&T three-peat by Friday afternoon. “It’s funny, though,” says Johnson’s bagman Bobby Brown, a former Pebble Beach Resorts caddie. “Even though we made the 8, we get up to the fourth tee and he always puts his hand on the driver like he wants to do it again.” And he’s not alone. John Daly, Phil


Mickelson and Vijay Singh have all been too curious to resist. “We had some good luck making


birdies, and then we made the quad, and it’s like, OK, I don’t think we are going to do that again,” Brown said. “Always learning.” However… “I’m not saying he’d never hit driver


again,” Brown added. “If a guy like Dustin catches that thing straight down- wind, he could knock it on, and he could


SPRING 2013 / NCGA.ORG / 41


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