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Van Sickle: Johnny Miller said in the mid-'90s that all you really need for the U.S. Open are Pebble Beach, Oakmont and Shinnecock Hills. He might update that now with Torrey Pines or Bethpage, but his point is, Pebble Beach may be our finest Open venue.
Bamberger: Miller's comment is genius. You have California, New York and the all-important Pittsburgh market.
Van Sickle: Are you jagging Pittsburgh, Mr. Philadelphia?
Hack: I like rotating those three courses, as long as you throw in Bethpage every so often. An Open will be coming back to Shinnecock in the near future, by the way. I hear Shinnecock and the USGA are talking. The bruises from 2004 have healed.
Anonymous Pro: The aura and history and views at Pebble make it great, but it has only nine good holes. The holes on the water make Pebble great. I hear people say that if they had one round of golf to play, they'd play Pebble Beach. It's fantastic, sure, but it may not even be in my top 10.
Shipnuck: I have to disagree. Some holes get dismissed and overlooked because they're not on the ocean, but they're really cool holes. They've reshaped number 1 and added a bunker on the left side, so it's a hard second shot now. The 2nd is usually an easy par-5, but it becomes a long, exacting par-4 for the Open. The 12th is the hardest par-3 on the course. There's a new tee on 13, way back there, and it has probably the most challenging green on the course.
Garrity: There are only three American courses that any golf fan can identify at a glance: Augusta National, TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach. And Pebble is the only one that hosts Opens. So, yeah, it has to be my favorite.
Van Sickle: Is it a truly great course, or just a pretty good one with amazing scenery? I think Pebble may be the best Open site, yet I agree with the Pro—when I look at the individual holes, I see a lot of mediocre ones. Somehow, the sum is far greater than the parts at Pebble.
Bamberger: The sum is greater. A lot of modern architects don't get that. At the end of the day, these courses can't be viewed scientifically. Forget the ratings. Nobody who plays Pebble Beach doesn't love it. You love it because you're on the Pacific, Jack Lemmon never made a cut there, Watson chipped in there, Jack hit that one-iron at 17 and Gil Morgan couldn't close the deal there. Everything about it is why we love it.
The Hole Truth