Rivera Country Club's short par-4 10th hole is one of the most architecturally intriguing, fascinating holes in all of golf. At just over 300 yards on the card, the decision is pretty clear for a PGA Tour player: try to drive the green or lay up?
On its face, it might seem like a player would lean toward laying up. There's plenty of room short and left of the green, leaving a pretty standard pitch shot to a green that orients toward the shot. Easy, right? Well, the data proves otherwise.
Don't listen to the fake news from the announcers suggesting to lay up on #10. Ball don't lie! pic.twitter.com/dIRP74sgb4
— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) February 16, 2017
Looking at the data from 2006-15, the contrast is incredibly stark. There is a 459-shot difference between the scores of the players who try to drive the green, risking finding tricky bunkers and tight lies around the green, and those who try to lay up safely short of the green.
The players who went for the green in that stretch were 332 under par. The players who laid up? They were 127 over par. That's bonkers, but it also means the answer is crystal clear: Go for the green!