LOS ANGELES (AP) – The PGA Tour made it official Tuesday by saying it would flip the nines at East Lake for the Tour Championship, along with Rees Jones making a few other changes.
Jones was walking the course last year and talking to various players about the changes.
By flipping the nines, the Tour Championship – and possibly the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus – now will be decided on a par 5 instead of a par 3. The tour said in a release that the final five holes now will have the potential for more lead changes.
Previously, the back nine was a strong test from the 13th hole onward, with the exception of the par-5 15th.
Now, the final stretch will start with the 14th hole (previously No. 5), which is one of the most difficult par 4s at East Lake. It will be followed by the par 3 over the lake to a peninsula green, with two holes that will be modified before reaching the par 5 final hole.
The tour said the landing area on the new 18th would be modified with bunkers added to the second landing area and around the green.
One reason for the change that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem told The Associated Press last year made sense.
"If we get into a close finish or a playoff situation and you come to the last hole, those minutes are really valuable," he said. "People are streaming back to the telecast. They hear it's a playoff. They hear it's tight. When you get there, you want that last hole to be as impactful as possible. You want it to last a while. If it's a three-shot hole or a reachable par 5, there's more golf to see than if it's tied or a one-shot lead and you're playing a par 3."
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