The Cut : The Cut - Autumn 2017
50 THE CUT Water, swirling winds, a tough par-4, a do-or-die par-3 and a reachable par-5. Amen Cor ner has ever ything you need for glor y and disaster. BELOW: Larr y Mize chipped in from the right side of the 11th hole to win the ’87 Masters, but it’s not a recommended play. week. In the end, I played well and I putted well. It’s a second-shot golf course and you’ve got to really stripe your irons well in order to hit the proper place in those green quadrants. Once you’re on those quadrants you’ve got to just manage the speed and not try to make the putts with a ton of speed. You have to be patient and accept what each hole location gives you on your putts. QWhat aspects of playing Augusta are overlooked, but crucial to success? Zach Johnson: It all depends on the conditions. There are certain days out there – whether it’s warm or minimal wind – where you feel like ‘I’ve just got to post a number out here today.’ The par-5s are all gettable and you’ve just got to be aggressive and take advantage of those opportunities. That said, the moment you’re a little off, it’s going to bite you. That’s the beauty of a major – and particularly Augusta National. You can’t go into a hole telling yourself, ‘This is what I’m going to do here.’ It’s different by the day, it’s different based on the pin. The 4th hole, for example, is a hard and long par-3 . No one is going to say it’s the hardest hole at Augusta, but the front left hole location is probably the hardest pin on the golf course. The course changes dramatically based on the wind and pins. You’ve got to have everything at Augusta. I don’t know if you can single one aspect out of the game. In some respects it’s the most predictable golf course I’ve ever played because you know if you hit it in certain places, you’re not getting up-and-down for par. And you know the places where you have a chance. On the greens, if you hit it on line, it’s going to go in because it’s so pure. It’s a constant in the sense that it’s just a ‘pure’ golf course. Charl Schwartzel: Augusta is a golf course where experience helps dramatically. Of course, I won on only my second try but go figure, right? Being familiar with its many bounces is key. I’m comfortable there, but some people don’t like the way the holes look to the eye or the way it’s shaped. Fortunately, it fits my eye well. It demands a good iron player and that is one of the strengths of my game. You need to put your iron command into play on the par-3s. Think about the difficulty of the 4th (240 yards) and the 6th (180 yards) because they’re both so severely downhill. Then the 12th is the ultimate challenge with distance control to that narrow green. And 16, of course, demands a proper iron shot to find the correct section of the green. Do well on Augusta National’s par-3s and that will go a long way. Larry Mize: The front nine. It gets more notoriety now because you finally get to start seeing more of the holes on television. The front nine has some tremendous holes and it’s an awfully good test of golf, in my opinion. From the 3rd to 6th is a very good stretch that properly represents Augusta National’s challenge. It requires a firmly struck wedge or short iron into number three and an accurate long iron or utility on the par-3 4th. It requires a certain kind of shot. Six is just a great hole simply because the ball is in the air for so long. It’s a significant challenge in distance control and you have to find the proper tier on that green. If you can get through that stretch of holes in good shape, you’re off to a great start to your round.
The Cut - Summer 2017
The Cut - Winter 2017