The USGA is reportedly set to present historic Riviera Country Club for the 2017 US Amateur in a way that is likely to upset a lot of golf purists and golf architecture aficionados.
According to a tweet from a member of Fox Sports' golf production team, the USGA is planning two big changes to Riviera:
- The par-5 first hole, with an iconic drive down into the bowl of the course, will be played as a par 4
- The iconic par-4 18th hole will, at some point in the tournament, be shortened into a driveable par 4
USGA's Ben Kimball told me the 1st hole at Riviera for #USAmateur will play as a par 4; the iconic 18th could play as a drivable par 4.
— Daniel Beyer (@danbeyeronfox) July 24, 2017
The first change will turn Riviera Country Club into a par-70 golf course for the US Amateur, which is a shock to the system in and of itself. It's also a bizarre choice because the US Amateur is a match-play event, at least after 36 holes of qualifying. So who cares what par is in match play?
However, that's not quite as controversial as taking away one of the most fascinating, pressure-packed and interesting tee shots in all of golf away from competitors set to descend on Riviera in August.
The reaction on Twitter was swift among golf course architecture lovers, lamenting the changes fly in the face of how George C. Thomas intended his masterpiece to play. However, there was some sense of relief that the USGA chose not to alter the short par-4 10th, converting it into an astoundingly long and difficult par 3.