AUGUSTA, Ga. – Don’t confuse tradition for complacency.
That’s what fans should remember when broadcasters refer to Augusta National’s traditional Sunday hole locations.
“There never is much difference between pin positions at this place,” said one PGA Tour caddie early Sunday morning.
The only question is when officials decide to use certain locations.
For example, Sunday’s pin placement at the par-5 eighth hole is just 10 paces onto the front of the green, compared to 35 paces deep the last two years. Much of those adjustments are made with scoring in mind.
“That one is an eagle,” Rich Beem said as he pointed to today’s location at the eighth, “that’s a ‘4’ [last year’s location], this one’s a ‘3.’”
Among the more significant variations on Sunday were at Nos. 4, 8, 11, 14, 15 and 17.
The fourth hole is perched just over the edge of the front bunker, meaning the majority of the field will have downhill, winding putts for birdie; and the 11th hole is back 36 paces, compared to just 18 paces last year, and will likely lead to a good number of layups – short and right of the putting surface.
What is an unwavering tradition is the club’s quest to set the back nine up for low scoring, with moves like Sunday’s hole location at the par-5 15th hole in a swale in the back-right portion of the putting surface.
Most players figure each hole has four or five different locations, but they are left wondering which day they are going to see them.
“Any given hole there's a pin placement, you're just happy to make par,” Phil Mickelson said. “But if you put it in certain spots you're able to make birdie. So you just don't know how they're going to set it up.”