YOUR DEFINITIVE GUIDE FALDO ON THE EUROS
He thinks a return to the glory days are imminent
How Augusta National is constantly evolving
RICKIE JACK’S ’86 CHAIRMAN FOWLER WIN RELIVED OF CHEERS
Exclusive interview with the Augusta debutant
25 years since the most remarkable Masters win
How Billy Payne is restoring former glories
T H E M A ST E R S 2 011
THERE HASN’T BEEN A EUROPEAN WINNER AT AUGUSTA SINCE 1999; CA
AN LEE, MARTIN, GRAEME & CO CHANGE THAT?
t wasn’t supposed to be like this. Not after what went before. Not after the cream of Europe’s golfers – Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and José Maria Olazábal – dominated the last two decades of the 20th century, winning the Masters Tournament as many as 11 times and recording seven other top-five finishes (five of those from two-time champion Ballesteros). Since Olazábal’s second victory in 1999, however, nothing. The top-fives have kept coming at a steady clip – nine in total – but three of those finishes have been recorded by Olazábal (twice) and Langer. From the next generation of European stars, only Padraig Harrington (twice), Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood have even remotely threatened to slip into a coveted green jacket. So what’s going on? How and why has the rest of the planet elbowed the Old World into the trees bordering Magnolia Lane? Again, since Ollie’s memorable win over Davis Love and Greg Norman eased us into the new millennium, the US has recorded seven victories (six of them by two players: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson), while Canada, Fiji, Argentina and South Africa all have one apiece. “I think we’ve been in transition since the turn of the century,” says swing coach Pete Cowen, who works with current Major champions Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen, as well as world No.1 Westwood. “At that time the youngsters were probably not ready to win a Major and the older guys were a little past their best. Augusta takes a bit of knowing, especially the speed of the greens. When you first go to the Masters you don’t know that you often have to ‘miss’ shots rather than hit them. Nick Price always used to say he was too aggressive for Augusta and he was probably right. “Players like Ollie and Langer and Faldo did well there because they are great strategists. And you never see anyone win there who isn’t a great chipper. Sometimes we don’t concentrate on the thing that would win at Augusta – the little chip shots.” Still, it isn’t as if Europe hasn’t been winning Grand Slam events elsewhere, as Harrington (thrice) and, just last year, McDowell and Martin Kaymer so ably demonstrated. But round Augusta National? No siree Bob. ➨
T H E M A ST E R S 2 011
CHANGING FAC WORDS BY RON WHITTEN ILLUSTRATIONS BY CHRIS O’RILEY
● 10th GREEN ● 11th TEE ●
HOW THE 11th HOLE HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS TYPIFIES THE WHOLE COURSE.
he late golf writer Charles Price said it best: Augusta National was never the most revolutionary golf-course design in America, but it certainly was the most evolutionary. Of course, it was evolution sped up considerably by man. The moment the inaugural tournament concluded in 1934, club officials were assessing ways to improve their Georgia peach. They reversed the nines, for instance, then ➨ MASTERS PREVIEW // www.golf-world.co.uk
It was the second hole in 1934, the 11th thereafter. The hole was designed by Alister MacKenzie without a bunker, but Bob Jones added one in the centre of the fairway, over a crest 240 yards out. It reminded him of St Andrews’ blind bunkers. The best play was a drive to its left, leaving an approach played away from the branch of Rae’s Creek left of the green. Mounds at the front right of the green deflected some shots.
An elevated tee was chopped from pines left of the 10th green, straightening and lengthening the 11th. The fairway bunker was filled in. The creek left of the green was dammed to form a pond, and areas right of the green were elevated. Another dam raised Rae’s Creek, and the putting surface was reshaped to create three pin placements near the water. Clifford Roberts, Robert Trent Jones and Byron Nelson all claimed credit for the ideas.
CE OF AUGUSTA
Because back hole locations proved not particularly hazardous, two bunkers, built into mounds for visibility, were installed behind the green. In 1965, the green was rebuilt to elevate it two feet. But a 1990 flood still washed away the putting surface. It was reconstructed to previous contours before the 1991 Masters, using then-new laser technology and a topographic map the club had on file.
The green was rebuilt yet again to raise the putting surface and surrounds another two feet (including the swale from which Larry Mize chipped in to win the 1987 Masters). The pond was raised by a foot, two bunkers behind the green were replaced by one on the left, and the green was extended to bring hole locations within 20 yards of Rae’s Creek. The tee was shifted to compensate for the loss of a large pine 180 yards in front.
The tee was moved back 35 yards, and five yards to the right, nearly against the tree line. The fairway was regraded to eliminate kicks towards the green. “We moved this tee back three years ago, but we had to do it again because the hole was playing so short,” said Tom Fazio, architect of all changes since 1998. “Why play safe when you’re hitting a 9-iron or sand wedge for your second shot? We’ve made it a middle-iron approach again.”
To further tighten the drive, 36 mature pine trees were transplanted to the right of the landing area. “It continues our long-standing emphasis on accuracy off the tee,” said chairman Hootie Johnson. Fourtime Masters champion Arnold Palmer, a club member, was critical of the new pines, pointing out that they removed one of the prime spectator vantage points on the back nine.
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