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#AskAlan: If you could redesign one hole at Pebble Beach, which would you choose and what would you do?

February 7, 2018

From golf’s rowdiest party to America’s greatest golf course… pretty good back-to-back, I would say. Let’s get to it.

#AskAlan Who gets the bigger fine from the Tour, Rahmbo for his club abuse or Kuchar for his colorful language? -Dave (@CountDownDave)

I’m guessing Rahm, because the Tour has to cringe at his on-course churlishness and will want to send a message to a youngster who is just learning how to be on the world stage. I’ve been around Kuchar a lot and have never heard him say anything even close to “d—head,” which is what he piped into America’s living rooms on Sunday. He’s a favorite in Ponte Vedra Beach so I don’t think they’ll hit his wallet tooooo hard.

Do you think Woodland will continue his current form and make the Ryder Cup team this year? #AskAlan -Chris (@ctimmerman)

Gawd, I hope so. Team USA could definitely use his firepower and jock swagger. Woodland is so much like Brooks Koepka in bearing and mannerisms I sometimes wonder if they were built in the same lab, alongside Ivan Drago. Don’t forget that a few years ago Tiger said of Woodland, “I always thought that I could hit it a ways when I was younger and I had another gear. That’s what Gary has, which is fun to watch because he’ll simply hit it, hit it, hit it, hit it — and then he’ll step on one and it’s like, Whoa. He has another gear that the other guys don’t have. I’ve talked to Dustin about it; I’ve talked to Bubba about it. They don’t have that extra little gear that he has.”

Woodland is not merely a golf savant; he grew up dominating team sports in his native Topeka, Kans. He was a standout shortstop who at 16 led his team to the NBC World Series title, hitting a grand slam in the semifinals to key a 5-4 victory. In high school hoops Woodland was an all-state shooting guard who carried his squad to two state championships. Kansas offered him a golf scholarship, but Woodland chose to play basketball at Topeka’s Division II Washburn University. As a freshman he had his best game against Northwest Missouri State, scoring 21 second-half points in a barrage that included five straight three-pointers. Later that year, in the national tournament, Woodland made the winning free throws with eight seconds left to defeat West Texas A&M. For the season he shot 32% from three-point range and 87% from the line. Pretty sure this guy won’t be daunted as a Ryder Cup rookie, unlike some of those waifish Euros.

Do you think Tiger will ever be offered the Ryder Cup captaincy or will all the baggage relegate him to an assistant forever? -Rick (@BTNRickPizzo)

Oh, without a doubt. That will just turn up the volume even more on the Ryder Cup. Tiger still wants to play in another Ryder Cup, and if he can piece together any kind of form I’m sure Furyk will pick him, making Tiger a de facto palying assistant captain. But as soon as injury and/or poor results makes it clear to Tiger that playing in a Ryder Cup is no longer an option I expect he’ll have his pick of which year he wants to be captain.

Hi Alan. Long time, first time. Thinking about Eagles finally winning a Super Bowl and golf’s title of “Best player to have never won major.” Haven’t heard anyone afixed with that in a while. Is that because people realize it’s hackneyed or because there aren’t any lead candidates? I’ll hang up and listen. -Harry (@HarryArnettCG)

Oh, a phrase being hackneyed has never prevented it from being popular! We’re just in a moment where it’s hard to get too excited about any of the nearly men. Rahm is too young to carry the burden, Lee Westwood too old. Rickie Fowler was my default choice last year but with every missed opportunity to win *anything* his career total of four wins begins to feel smaller and calls into question his credentials for the dreaded title. I think we’re just taking a little break, waiting for more heartbreak to identify the poor bastard in question.

#AskAlan if you were forced by the USGA to redesign one hole at Pebble in time for the Open next year, which one would it be and what would you do to it? -@AndresSotoMarin

The Mike Davis bunkers on the 6th fairway have been a disaster, turning the pros cautious on a hole that should force more risk. But shrinking and relocating them is more of a tweak. To make a more substantive change, I would work on the first hole. It’s such an awkward drive, and it’s not much fun to watch guys tee off with 4-irons. I would push the tees way up, reshape the green and bunkers and do a little tree removal to turn it into a driveable par-4. That would add so much adrenaline to the start of the round, and could be the beginning of an epic charge, a la Arnie at Cherry Hills.

Best place on the course to watch the Pebble Beach Pro-Am from? -@JoelPacker

Cypress Point. I’ll tell you all about it next week.