STATELINE — There’s something different about the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course this year.
With impending construction along the lake, No 9 has been altered, the big tree near the right side of the 18th green has been taken out and No. 8 has a different look.
The players at the 26th annual American Century Championship have been getting a first-hand look at the three holes during pro-am and practice rounds.
The ninth hole is approximately 20 yards shorter, and at first glance appears to be easier than in the past. It met with rave reviews from the players.
“I think, first of all, if you made 4 at No. 9 (before the change) it was like a birdie,” said defending champion Mark Rypien. “Now it’s a legitimate birdie hole. You hit the ball anywhere left of those bunkers and you’ve got wedge in there. And before, unless you were Billy Joe (Tolliver), you normally hit a 4 or 5-iron or 6-iron in before. Anytime you put a wedge in your hand here, you’ve got a chance for a birdie.”
Rick Rhoden, an eight-time winner of the ACC, said it’s a prettier hole.
“I think 9 is a much better visual hole now; you’re looking at over the lake,” he said. “It’s really a pretty hole now. It’s an easier hole because you don’t have to maneuver your first shot or try to maneuver your first shot because it’s easy if you don’t maneuver it to get it out of bounds on the old 9.”
Tolliver, a four-time winner of the event, offered his views.
“I stood on 9 yesterday, first time I saw it, and the first thing that I saw is that fence over there where they’re building that hotel,” he said. “That’s the first thing I saw, because I know I’m going to hit my ball over that fence out of bounds. That’s all I could think about.”
Tolliver said he would miss the big tree being gone on 18 because it kept his errant approach shots from going into the water. Rypien also noted the bunker near the tree had also been removed.
The eighth hole, which featured a huge tree in the middle of the fairway, has also been changed. According to tournament officials, the hole plays 15-20 yards shorter than before. For some players, the tree could come into play. For others, it won’t.
“I’m not sure if 8 is easier or harder,” Rhoden said. “Everybody used to try to blow it over the tree on 8 and you had a narrow opening. Now there is more room, you’ve just got to hit it high. If you pull it and miss the fairway. the grass is about as high as this table and going left is worse.”
A SLEW OF MVPs
There are 11 players in the field — NFLers Aaron Rodgers, Marcus Allen, John Elway, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, Joe Theismann, Marshall Faulk, and Steve Young, and ex-baseball standouts Pudge Rodriguez and Roger Clemens plus Charles Barkley from the NBA — who were MVPs during their careers.
AROUND THE HORN
Mike Eurzione, former Olympic hockey hero, actor-musician Jack Wagner, football great John Elway and football great Jim McMahon have played in every tournament …Baseball players have won eight ACC titles (all by Rhoden), football is second with seven (four by Tolliver), hockey is next with five (four by Dan Quinn) … There have been four aces in the event — Rudy Gatlin (1995, No. 5), Dan Jansen (1999, No. 5), Marshall Faulk (2009, No. 17) and Joe Sakic (2011, No. 17) … Wagner is the only wire-to-wire winner in the event (2011).