Of all the par-3s in the world, this one has become the most famous. A shallow green, only 10 yards wide behind the lone bunker in front, is the target. There is another at the rear, sloping downhill to the green. Behind the green is a great array of flora, banks of shrubbery just waiting to gobble up wayward golf balls.
The distance and the precise area it must be placed is one thing - the constantly swirling wind is something else. Bob Rosburg once hit a 4-iron there and flew everything, eventually going onto the property of the adjacent Augusta Country Club. He swung his 4-iron again and ended up in the creek down in front. Such are the vagaries of the capricious zephyrs here.
A very old axiom says you never - never - aim for the flag on Sunday. The pin is always placed right, at the most difficult place to get to, and the only sensible shot is dead in the middle.
Tom Weiskopf's story is the most famous one here. In 1980, he hit 7-iron in the first round, but the ball reached the front edge and spun into Rae's Creek fronting the green. He then went to the drop area and tried, unsuccessfully, to clear the water four more times. He finally carried the water and two-putted for a 13. He scored an 85 that day, but took a 7 on No. 12 the next day to miss the cut with 164.
Fred Couples was roaring along in 1992 when he can to the 12th. His shot rose in the air and came down short. It would have gone in the water 999 out of 1,000 times. But it didn't. It stayed out, and Couples was able to make par and go on to win the tournament.