Ah, Pebble Beach Golf Links. Just utter the phrase, and grown men (golfers, at least) will get a wistful look in their eye usually reserved for thoughts of their first dog. The course is so classic that on Sunday, CBS is replaying a 1963 match between Sam Snead and a very young Jack Nicklaus on the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
So, when Yahoo! Sports golf blog Devil Ball began listing off their top 18 holes in golf, it was a pretty sure bet that Pebble Beach's 8th hole was going to wind up on the list. Jack Nicklaus called the second shot on the 8th hole "the finest second shot in golf." Fairway Golf names it "the most obvious signature hole." Jeff Barr lists the 8th hole (and the 9th) in his book "1001 Golf Holes You Must Play Before You Die." On Sunday, Devil Ball revealed their choice for Pebble Beach Golf Links: hole number seven. Cue howls of outrage from commenters! But do a little digging (or just play the course), and there's plenty of data to back up this opinion, too.
Golf Digest called the 7th "the most famous little hole in golf" back in 2000. Golf journalist Mark Ocean described the 7th, for its sweeping views of both the fairway and the ocean, as " the signature hole of all signature holes," and The Itinerant Golfer agrees. Of course, even the 7th has competition. Jeff Barr seems to think the 9th is even more quintessentially Pebble than the 8th. Pebble Beach famously sued a Houston golf course in 1992 to prevent it from creating a perfect reproduction of the intimidating 14th hole.
Number 17 is known for the legendary Jack Nicklaus one iron shot at the 1972 US Open and Tom Watson's shot in the '82 Open. (By the way, there's another of those Opens coming up next year at Pebble.) The venerable New York Times dedicated inches of copy to the perfection of Pebble Beach Golf Links' 18th hole, and pro Sally Dodge has named it the signature hole at the course. Trying to hedge their bets, The Weather Channel has named both the 7th and the 18th Pebble Beach Golf Links' signature holes. And Wikipedia tries to weasel out of the question entirely by saying "It is impossible to name a 'signature hole' at Pebble Beach Golf Links..." (Of course, the second half of that sentence reads "but the most obvious candidate would be 8," so one could argue they're trying to have it both ways.) What do you think the signature hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links is? The fiendishly difficult 8th? The breathtakingly beautiful 7th? The legendary 17th? The grand finale of the 18th? Or another hole entirely?