Todd said the course was short when Olazabal was dominant and the gap between the long hitters and the others wasn’t too great. Orazabal told him
“He said everyone hit the ball the same distance. It was short back then,” said Todd, who has played in three Masters tournaments. “It was about accuracy. It was the golf course on the second shot. It’s still the case today.”
But there is a big difference. The course is about 600 yards longer than he was 30 years ago, and now he is 7,545 yards. And today, the big hitter is absolutely bombing the ball, and the United States Golf Association is considering changing the flight distance of golf balls, and this season he ranks 203rd in driving distance on the PGA Tour. Todd is not one of them.
“On the hardest holes, 1, 5, 17 and 18, the big hitters hit the driver and the 8 iron,” Todd said. “I hit it with a driver and a 5 or 6 iron. It’s not soft enough on the green.”
The Masters lives on in our imaginations as the only major venue that never changes. Watching the azaleas bloom and patrons picking up pimento cheese sandwiches is an annual ritual in the spring. Those lucky enough to be invited to play or earn a badge to watch will treat Augusta’s time around his National with respect.
This is the course created by Dr. Alister Mackenzie, one of the greatest architects of the Golden Age, and Bobby Jones, the great amateur champion, to host an invitational tournament for the best golfers.
That’s all true, but the course itself is like a living creature, growing, changing and changing on a regular basis. It’s almost as invisible today as it was when the first tournament was held in 1934.
at least 10 architects We made changes to the course and even more players and designers consulted on the changes. Jack Nicklaus, six-time champion. Current architect Tom Fazio.
All eyes are on you this year The 35-yard 13th hole, It’s been a bold Sunday charge for years, just like Phil Mickelson shot through a pine forest onto the green as he charged to win his third Masters in 2010. . Head to Rays Creek in front of the green.
A par 5 hole might be too long for the excitement this year. No one hits the ball as far and accurately as Rory McIlroy, at least for most of the field.
“Length is a big deal,” said Matthew McLean, who received an invite to the Masters because he won the 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur Golf Championship. The most underrated thing about Augusta is the difficulty of the tee shot. ”
An accomplished player from Northern Ireland, McLean said he averaged drives of about 290 to 300 yards. And that’s not enough. “There is a myth that you can hit a driver on the track,” he said. “That’s not true. Golf anywhere he’s played is as tough as the course.”
The 13th hole is extended to 545 yards. (He had 480 yards on the first play of the tournament.) Doesn’t seem like much for the best player in the world, but the tricky part is the angle of the hole. Turning too far left and flying left is dangerous, but flying too far right is problematic.
This year, the angle and added distance will force players to want less than the heroic shot Mickelson made in 2010, instead hitting something short of the famous creek before pitching over. may like it.
This is strategic golf and how Zach Johnson played the par 5s at Augusta to win the 2007 Masters. His strategy was to hit wedges on every par 5 on the course. It was enough to beat Tiger Woods in two shots, but it wasn’t the most exciting tournament I remember.
“I don’t think it’s good for the tournament,” he said. Jose Campuraa veteran caddy who has worked at the Masters for past champion Angel Cabrera and twice for Emiliano Grillo.
“Only 5% of players will go green at No. 13. The rest will lay up,” he said. their next shot.
It might be playing wise, but there’s also a sense that excitement can be contained.
“There will be less risk and less reward,” says Campra. “I used to see a lot of people hitting the water on the 13th. It was the excitement of Sunday. , there are not many anymore, because they cannot cover the distance.”
Two-time Masters winner Bernhard Langer called it his favorite hole.
“One of the luckiest shots of my career was 13,” he said. “It was a Saturday in 1985 and I was trying to hook my tee shot into the corner. I asked the caddy, “What do you think?” He said he was a 3 wood, but look at that lie. I said raise him over the creek he knows it won’t be easy to get 3 woods. ”
But Langer tried it. He didn’t look promising at first. “I hit it a little thin. It never got more than four feet off the ground. I said, it’s never over. There used to be a little mound. I jumped over the creek onto the green.” I made about 60 footers for the eagles.I birdied the next hole and was 15. Just two coming into Sunday.”
It was Langer’s first Masters victory. But one thing he remembers is that he never dominated the course.
“When I was paired with Tiger, I was told Tiger was intimidating, but I never felt that,” he said. “He was playing his game. I was playing my game. He drove me in huge numbers. I know he can’t hit 325 yards.”
Many short hitters this week know that playing their game is key.
“Our game is our game and our strengths are our strengths,” said Todd, who was unable to attend this year’s tournament.
When he made the cut in 2021 and finished tied for 46th, he said he stuck to his strengths.
“I could hit more fairways,” said Todd. “I put my long club in the middle of the green. I played a good par 5 with a wedge and made a few birdies.”
“When I was lucky enough to play on a course like Augusta, that practice and experience came in handy,” he added. “There are 20 to 25 guys at the Masters who have played the last eight to 10 majors and they have more experience than you. increase.”