The Cut : The Cut - Autumn 2018
GOLF & LEISURE 29 about the calculations – you can’t just go for a flag because of all the angles; you either run out of room behind the flag, or hit a little false front going the other way and off she wanders. Augusta is all about those small but critical margins. What do you need to do well to win? Everything! But distance control is huge. You’ve got to be hitting your irons great. I was hitting things right on the button in ’96 and literally landing anything on the number, which was really cool. Then, the par-4 5th was a 2-iron in! Trying to hit a 2-iron to stay on the green... well you couldn’t. But you could get it running up there and finish it off. And then there’s the driving, which has got tougher over the years. It used to be relatively easy, but they’ve toughened up a lot of the tee shots. You’ve got to sling it in the right places, especially on 10 and 11, while 14 is tough because the fairway goes left to right and you’re trying to hook it with a pine tree in the corner staring right at you. You’ve got to be a great downhill putter, with great touch and imagination. You’re going to get 30-foot putts with 15 feet of break and you’ve got to learn to see and feel that. And they’re so fast at times you can’t get perfect weights so you’ve got to make sure you miss it in the right quadrant to ensure the one coming back is only left or right edge. If you miss it leaving a six-footer with a foot of break, that’s hell! You might make a few, but you’ll wear yourself out by the end of the week. Expect the unexpected. The greens will change on a daily basis. One day they might be stopping in three or four feet, the next in five or seven and you’ve got to latch on to that really quickly with your caddie. Realise ‘oh, it’s rock hard out there today’ and work out what you can do... or if it’s a bit soft you have to play differently. As it firms up, you’re going to run out of space everywhere. Fine margins, always fine margins. I don’t recall that much about playing the first two rounds with Tiger in ’97. I only really have two memories. The first was when we both looked at each other on the 5th green. Back then, Augusta’s new SubAir system would dry the greens out on Wednesday night, so they’d go from green to yellow in a day and become rock hard, completely different. The other thing I can remember, like everybody else, was him chipping in on 12. My top five Masters winners? Jack Nicklaus is No.1 because he was my introduction to golf, watching in 1971. He didn’t Win No.3: Faldo turned over Norman in 1996. Nice fit: Faldo watched Woods’ ‘97 win first-hand. Back-to-back Masters: retaining the jacket in 1990... on the 11th again.
The Cut - Summer 2018