The PLAYERS Preview:  New 12th hole

Posted by: mike May 10th, 2017

By Kathy Bissell

There have been a few changes to the course this year for The Players, but the only one that counts is the redo of the 12th hole, a par four that was theoretically drivable. But because the green was obscured from the tee, hidden behind some mounds on the left, few tried even though the length was reachable.  

In the past, the 12th was a short, dogleg left with a couple pot bunkers close to the green. Now, it’s straightaway, like they just walked about 30 yards right and dropped it into the fairway.  So the hole is a little bit shorter.  The green is now elongated, offering a variety of distances, depending on pin placement. TPC Sawgrass Hole 12  

However, the big challenge is the new lake that is to the left of the green where the old mounds used to be.  At media day Jason Day tried to reach the green and missed everywhere you could miss in a contest that was to benefit some local charities.  So while it looks enticing from the tee, it’s a little harder to hit than you’d think it should be.  It’s still an easy birdie for someone with a good wedge game who decides to lay up and go for it in two, and it’s also a potential eagle for someone with an accurate driver or 3-wood. However, there’s much more risk if a golfer decides to go for the green.  

“I think it will be fun,” said Johnny Miller in an NBC teleconference promoting the event. “It was the easiest hole, historically, the 12th and there's a good chance that it might even be easier depending on the wind, I don't know. It will be fun for the viewer to see the guys go for it and occasionally go in the water.”

The PGA Tour is pretty sure it will be exciting, too, because they’ve constructed new bleachers to the right of the hole.  Whether the bleachers will be in play is yet to be determined. A hard hat might be needed.

“I would imagine that you'll see the majority of players having a go because that's basically what the game has become. It's about power and distance, and they are super aggressive now,” David Duval noted.  “It definitely needed something and it sounds like it's on the right track.”

“If it stays firm, it might turn into a drivable par 5 with the water short left and everything,” Justin Leonard joked.  

Defending champ Jason Day liked the change when he saw it.

“It'll be interesting to see if a lot of guys go for it.  I think the biggest thing is that left-hand side. If balls are bounding down there, will they go in the water or not?” Day asked rhetorically.  “If you lay back far enough, you can shoot yourself straight up the green. If you lay back but you're too far up here, then you've got that 45-degree over the mounds, and you can possibly go in the water. A lot of thinking, which is what they probably wanted, especially when you're standing on the tee on a Sunday.”

So, it won’t be as pivotal as the 16th, 17th and 18th have been in the past, but the new 12th at TPC Sawgrass certainly adds some excitement and scoring opportunities.