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Hole-by-hole look: Augusta National Golf Club

By Doug FergusonMarch 30, 2018, 10:26 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. - A hole-by-hole look at Augusta National, site of the 82nd Masters to be played April 5-8, with famous shots played at each one, the average score and where each hole ranks in difficulty since 1934:

No. 1, 445 yards, par 4 (Tea Olive): This slight dogleg right plays uphill and has a deep bunker requiring a 317-yard carry off the tee. The bunker has a tongue in the left side, so anything that enters the front of the bunker might be blocked by the lip. A bunker is left of the green, which falls off sharply at the back and to the right.

Masters memory: Charl Schwartzel used a 6-iron to pitch a low-running shot from the right mounds across the green and holed the shot for birdie to begin the final round of his 2011 victory.

Average score and rank: 4.24 (6th)


No. 2, 575 yards, par 5 (Pink Dogwood): A dogleg left that can be reached in two by the big hitters. A fairway bunker on the right comes into play. A big drive kept down the left side shortens the hole but leaves a downhill lie to a green guarded by two deep bunkers in the front.

Masters memory: Louis Oosthuizen hit a 4-iron from 253 yards in the final round of 2012 that landed on the front of the green and rolled some 90 feet into the cup for the first albatross at this hole in Masters history. It took him from a one-shot deficit to a two-shot lead. He went on to lose in a playoff.

Average score and rank: 4.79 (16th)


No. 3, 350 yards, par 4 (Flowering Peach): One of the best short par 4s in golf, this hole hasn't been changed since 1982. Big hitters can drive near the green, but not many try because of all the trouble surrounding the L-shaped green that slopes sharply from right to left. Most players hit iron off tee to stay short of four bunkers on the left side.

Masters memory: Jeff Maggert was leading in the final round in 2003 when he found a fairway bunker to the left. His shot ricocheted off the face of the bunker and struck him in the chest for a two-stroke penalty. He took triple bogey on the hole and never recovered.

Average score and rank: 4.08 (14th)


No. 4, 240 yards, par 3 (Flowering Crab Apple): This has become a long iron for big hitters, fairway metal for others. A deep bunker protects the right side of the green, with another bunker to the left. Club selection remains crucial because of the deceptive wind. The green slopes to the front. This hole features the only palm tree on the course.

Masters memory: Phil Mickelson was one shot out of the lead in the final round in 2012 when his tee shot hit the grandstand and went into the woods. Lefty played two right-handed shots to get it out, hit his fourth into the bunker and got up-and-down for a triple bogey. He finished two shots behind.

Average score and rank: 3.29 (3rd)


No. 5, 455 yards, par 4 (Magnolia): An uphill, slight dogleg to the left with two very deep bunkers guarding the left side some 300 yards from the tee. The green slopes severely from back to front, and a small bunker catches anything long. If an approach is long and misses the bunker, it could roll down the slope and into the Magnolia trees.

Masters memory: Jack Nicklaus made two eagles in the 1995 Masters, with a 5-iron from 180 yards in the first round and with a 7-iron from 163 yards in the third round.

Average score and rank: 4.26 (5th)


No. 6, 180 yards, par 3 (Juniper): An elevated tee to a large green with three tiers, with significant slopes marking the three levels. Getting close to the hole is a challenge. The easiest pin might be front left. The hole has not been changed since 1975.

Masters memory: Billy Joe Patton, trying to become the first amateur to win the Masters, made a hole-in-one with a 5-iron from 190 yards in the final round in 1954. He missed the playoff between Ben Hogan and Sam Snead by one shot.

Average score and rank: 3.14 (13th)


No. 7, 450 yards, par 4 (Pampas): This hole literally has come a long way, from 320 yards to 450 yards. The tee was extended by 40 yards in 2003, then two years ago, the tee box was lengthened to allow the hole to play shorter if necessary. The tee shot is through a chute of Georgia pines, played to the left-center of the fairway into a slight slope. The green is surrounded by five bunkers, the most around any green.

Masters memory: Byron Nelson drove the green in the 1937 Masters for a two-putt birdie when it played at 320 yards. That inspired Augusta National to alter the hole, moving the green back 20 yards and to the right on an upslope and surrounding the green with bunkers.

Average score and rank: 4.15 (10th)


No. 8, 570 yards, par 5 (Yellow Jasmine): An accurate drive is important to avoid the fairway bunker on the right side. The hole is uphill and features trouble left of the green. There are no bunkers around the green, just severe mounding.

Masters memory: Tom Kite and Seve Ballesteros were paired together in the final round in 1986, both in contention. Kite hit a sand wedge from 80 yards that bounced twice and dropped in for his first eagle to get within two shots of the lead. Ballesteros, not the least bit bothered, played a pitch-and-run from 40 yards short of the green and matched his eagle to take the lead.

Average score and rank: 4.83 (15th)


No. 9, 460 yards, par 4 (Carolina Cherry): The tee shot should be aimed down the right side for a good angle into the green, which features two large bunkers to the left. Any approach that is short could spin some 25 yards back into the fairway.

Masters memory: Jack Nicklaus hit 9-iron into 12 feet in 1986 and was ready to putt when he heard back-to-back cheers from behind him on the eighth green. ''Why don't we try to make some noise ourselves?'' he said to the gallery. He made the birdie putt, and so began his charge to his sixth green jacket.

Average score and rank: 4.14 (12th)


No. 10, 495 yards, par 4 (Camellia): A long hole that can play shorter if the drive catches the slope in the fairway. It is difficult to save par from the bunker right of the green. The putting surface slopes from right to left. It has played as the most difficult hole in Masters history.

Masters memory: Bubba Watson was deep in the trees to the right of the fairway, 155 yards away, when he played a 40-yard hook with a wedge that landed about 10 feet beneath the hole. He two-putted for par to win the 2012 Masters.

Average score and rank: 4.31 (1st)


No. 11, 505 yards, par 4 (White Dogwood): Amen Corner starts here. The tee was lengthened by 15 yards in 2006, but some pine trees have been removed on the right side, although the landing area is still tight. A big tee shot - and a straight one - is required to get to the crest of the hill. A pond guards the green to the left and a bunker is to the back right. The safe shot is to bail out short and to the right.

Masters memory: Larry Mize was in a sudden-death playoff with Greg Norman in 1987 when he missed the green to the right. Mize's 140-foot chip was gaining steam when it dropped in for birdie, giving him the green jacket and dealing another blow to Norman's hopes of winning the Masters.

Average score and rank: 4.30 (2nd)


No. 12, 155 yards, par 3 (Golden Bell): This is among the most famous par 3s in golf, and the shortest hole at Augusta National. Club selection can range from a 6-iron to a 9-iron, but it's difficult to gauge the wind. Rae's Creek is in front of the shallow green, with two bunkers behind it and one in front.

Masters memory: Jordan Spieth hit two balls into Rae's Creek and made a quadruple-bogey 7. He started the back nine Sunday in 2016 with a five-shot lead. Walking to the 13th tee, he was three shots behind.

Average score and rank: 3.28 (4th)


No. 13, 510 yards, par 5 (Azalea): An accurate tee shot to the center of the fairway sets up players to go for the green. A tributary to Rae's Creek winds in front of the green, and four bunkers are behind the putting surface. From tee to green, there are about 1,600 azaleas.

Masters memory: With a two-shot lead in the final round in 2010, Phil Mickelson was in the pine straw behind a pair of trees. He hit 6-iron through a small gap in the pines and over the creek to about 4 feet. He missed the eagle putt but kept his lead and went on to win.

Average score and rank: 4.79 (17th)


No. 14, 440 yards, par 4 (Chinese Fir): This is the only hole on the course without a bunker. Even if the drive avoids trees on both sides of the fairway, the green has severe contours that feed the ball to the right.

Masters memory: Phil Mickelson holed out for eagle during an eagle-eagle-birdie stretch on Saturday in 2010 that helped him get into the final group. He won his third green jacket the next day.

Average score and rank: 4.17 (8th)


No. 15, 530 yards, par 5 (Firethorn): A cluster of pines is starting to mature on the right side of the fairway, making it critical to be straight off the tee. The green can be reached in two with a good drive, but a pond guards the front and there is a bunker to the right. Even for those laying up, the third shot requires a precise wedge.

Masters memory: Gene Sarazen was three shots behind when he hit the ''shot heard 'round the world'' in 1935. His 4-wood from 235 yards went into the hole for an albatross. He tied Craig Wood and defeated him the next day in a playoff.

Average score and rank: 4.78 (18th)


No. 16, 170 yards, par 3 (Redbud): The hole is played entirely over water and eventually bends to the left. Two bunkers guard the right side, and the green slopes significantly from right to left. The Sunday pin typically is back and on the lower shelf, and pars from the top shelf that day are rare.

Masters memory: Tiger Woods had a one-shot lead over Chris DiMarco when he missed the green long in 2005. He chipped away from the hole up the slope, watched it make a U-turn at the top and roll back toward the hole, pausing for 2 full seconds before dropping for birdie.

Average score and rank: 3.15 (11th)


No. 17, 440 yards, par 4 (Nandina): The Eisenhower Tree to the left of the fairway about 210 yards from the tee could not be saved from an ice storm in February 2014. It was taken down after suffering significant damage. That has made the tee shot much easier, especially for those with a lower, left-to-right ball flight. The green is protected by two bunkers in the front.

Masters memory: Jack Nicklaus made his final birdie in 1986 with a 12-foot putt that sent him to a 30 on the back nine and a 65, giving him a one-shot win and his sixth Masters. The pose Nicklaus struck when the putt dropped is captured in a bronze of him outside his clubhouse at Muirfield Village.

Average score and rank: 4.16 (9th)


No. 18, 465 yards, par 4 (Holly): Now among the most demanding finishing holes in golf, this uphill dogleg right is protected off the tee by two deep bunkers at the left elbow - the only bunkers in play off the tee on the back nine (except for par 3s). Trees get in the way of a drive that strays to the right. A middle iron typically is required for a green that has a bunker in front and to the right.

Masters memory: Sandy Lyle was tied for the lead with Mark Calcavecchia in 1988 when he hit 1-iron in the first of two bunkers down the left side of the fairway. Not thinking he could get on the green, Lyle hit 7-iron over the tall lip and behind the flag, and it rolled back to 10 feet. He holed the putt for birdie to win.

Average score and rank: 4.23 (7th)

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


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“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


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“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”

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How will players game-plan for Carnoustie?

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:31 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Justin Thomas took a familiar slash with his driver on the 18th tee on Monday at Carnoustie and watched anxiously as his golf ball bounced and bounded down the fairway.

Unlike the two previous editions of The Open, at what is widely considered the rota’s most demanding test, a particularly warm and dry summer has left Carnoustie a parched shade of yellow and players like Thomas searching for answers.

Under the best circumstances, Carnoustie is every bit the unforgiving participant. But this week promises to be something altogether different, with players already dumbfounded by how far the ball is chasing down fairways and over greens.

Brown is beautiful here at Royal Dark & Dusty.

But then it’s also proving to be something of a unique test.

Where most practice rounds at The Open are spent trying to figure out what lines are best off tees, this is more a study of lesser evils.

Tee shots, like at the par-4 17th hole, ask multiple questions with few answers. On his first attempt, Thomas hit 2-iron off the tee at No. 17. It cleared the Barry Burn and bounded down the middle of the fairway. Perfect, right? Not this year at Carnoustie, as Thomas’ tee shot kept rolling until it reached the same burn, which twists and turns through both the 17th and 18th fairways, at a farther intersection.


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“A hole like 17 in this wind, the trick is getting a club that will carry [the burn],” said Thomas, who played 18 holes on Monday with Tiger Woods. “If that hole gets downwind you can have a hard time carrying the burn and keeping it short of the other burn. It’s pretty bizarre.”

The sixth hole can offer a similar dilemma, with players needing to carry their tee shots 275 yards to avoid a pair of pot bunkers down the right side of the fairway. Yet just 26 yards past those pitfalls looms a second set of bunkers. Even for the game’s best, trying to weave a fairway wood or long-iron into a 26-yard window can be challenging.

“Six is a really hard hole, it really just depends on how you want to play it. If you want to take everything on and have a chance of hitting an iron into a par 5, or just kind of lay back and play it as a three-shot hole,” Thomas shrugged.

It’s difficult to quantify precisely how short the 7,400-yard layout is playing. It’s not so far players are flying the ball in the air, particularly with relatively little wind in the forecast the rest of the week, so much as it is a question of how a particular shot will run out after it’s made contact with the firm turf.

As the field began to get their first taste of the bouncy fun, one of the earliest indications something was askew came on Sunday when Padraig Harrington, who won The Open the last time it was played at Carnoustie in 2007, announced to the social world that he’d hit into the burn on the 18th hole.

“This time it was the one at the green, 457 yards away,” the Irishman tweeted. “The fairways are a tad fast.”

Most players have already resigned themselves to a steady diet of mid-irons off tees this week in an attempt to at least partially control the amount of run-out each shot will have.

Jordan Spieth, the defending champion, hadn’t played a practice round prior to his media session, but could tell what’s in store just from his abbreviated range session on Monday. “Extremely baked out,” he said.

The conditions have already led Spieth and his caddie, Micheal Greller, to conjure up a tentative game plan.

“You might wear out your 5- and 4-irons off the tee instead of hitting 3- or 2-irons like you’re used to,” Greller told him.

But even that might not be the answer, as Tommy Fleetwood discovered on Sunday during a practice round. Fleetwood has a unique connection with Carnoustie having shot the course record (63) during last year’s Dunhill Links Championship.

The Englishman doesn’t expect his record to be in danger this week.

In fact, he explained the dramatically different conditions were evident on the third hole on Sunday.

“There’s holes that have been nothing tee shots, like the third. If you play that in the middle of September or October [when the Dunhill is played] and it’s green and soft, you could just hit a mid-iron down the fairway and knock it on with a wedge,” Fleetwood said. “Yesterday it was playing so firm, the fairways really undulate and you have bunkers on either side, it’s actually all of a sudden a tough tee shot.”

The alternative to the iron game plan off the tee would be to simply hit driver, an option at least one long-hitter is considering this week if his practice round was any indication.

On Sunday, Jon Rahm played aggressively off each tee, taking the ubiquitous fairway bunkers out of play but at the same time tempting fate with each fairway ringed by fescue rough, which is relatively tame given the dry conditions. But even that option has consequences.

“It’s kind of strange where there’s not really a number that you know you’re going to be short,” said Fleetwood, who played his Sunday practice round with Rahm. “[Rahm] hit a drive on 15 that was like 400 yards. You just can’t account for that kind of stuff.”

Whatever tactic players choose, this Open Championship promises to be a much different test than what players have become accustomed to at Carnoustie.