In the eyes of many, the 2014 golf season begins this week. There’s the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. There’s Tiger and Phil at Torrey Pines. And, in a couple of weeks, there’s the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Ah, yes, Pebble Beach.
Recently, while almost nobody was looking, history was quietly made at what arguably is America’s golf shrine.
According to reports from Pebble Beach staff, assistant pro Mike Duncan made that rarest of birds – a double eagle albatross – on what (also arguably) is the hardest hole in the continental U.S.
We’re talking about the vicious and vindictive par-5 14th.
Playing from the back (560-yard, blue) tees at Pebble, Duncan hit driver, 5-iron and watched as his ball wound up in the hole.
Nobody at Pebble Beach could recall a 2 on No. 14 under any circumstances. It is, said one course historian/employee, “the only one we know of.”
A little quick history on the 14th at Pebble. Typically, the Tour pros play it from closer to 580 yards. It is a dogleg right uphill to a green that slopes precipitously down from back left to front right.
At the 2010 AT&T, four Tour pros walked off the green at No. 14 having made 9. Prior to last year, Pebble’s 14th was ranked statistically as the toughest par 5 on Tour for three of the previous five years. In 2010 when they staged the AT&T and the U.S. Open at Pebble, the 14th ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in par-5 difficulty for the year.
Asked about the table top Sunday hole location on the upper left portion of the green, Paul Goydos once said, “You’re trying to stop a pitching wedge on a moving school bus.”
Former AT&T winner D.A. Points added, “It’s just a treacherous shot.”
For his part, Duncan returned the following week and shot 66 at Pebble. Apparently the guy can play a little.
So here’s to Mike Duncan and our nomination for the shot of the year in golf so far in calendar 2014.
Well done, pro.