Twenty-five years ago, 41-year-old Mark O’Meara did what many men wanted. Especially since I’m middle aged. He won the Masters Tournament with his 18th place putt. Three months later he added a British Open victory. It is his second and final major tournament victory in his Hall of Fame career, which began during Jimmy Carter’s presidency and continues today on his PGA Tour his Champions circuit.
O’Meara’s achievements at Augusta National Golf Club interrupted his 15th Masters. It didn’t hurt that he played a lot of time with a genius named Tiger Woods. I experienced neither.
“It’s one of those golf courses that the more you play, the more you understand,” O’Meara said in an interview in March. “The more you play there, the more chances you have.”
O’Meara last competed in the Masters in 2018, making her 34th appearance. But he, like many other Masters winners, can still rattle off decades of memories of the joys and dangers of the course.
“You’re going to hit a bad shot,” he said. “But the best advice I can give anyone is to appreciate the good stuff. And forget the bad things.”
2nd place: pink dogwood
Par 5, 575 yards
2022 average: 4.583 (18). Cumulative average: 4.777 (17).
The ’18’ indicates that the 2nd hole was the easiest hole in 2022.
Augusta National has few forgiving holes. “They kept me up at night,” O’Meara joked. But his 2nd hole, a right-to-left downhill hole, can set the mood for the round.
“It’s a doable hole as long as you don’t let it go too deep and overdraw your tee shot into the trees and into the creek on the left,” said O’Meara. According to O’Meara, even just playing short of the first bunker on the hole is fine in an age of players with enormous power. Many of them can knock the ball onto the green from the area.
“If you hit a bogey there, you definitely miss a shot,” he said of the hole. “You should be able to make par and maybe make a birdie or an eagle.”
The misery quickly cranks up on the 3rd hole, the shortest par-4 hole. O’Meara, who had five bunkers, shuddered at the memory of her. 3 can be a very dangerous hole. “
O’Meara argued that it was essential for the potential Masters champions to have a good understanding of the course so that they could avoid the awkward positions that the third-placed competitors tended to fall into.
“You’ll find some awkward positions out there, but the more you can avoid it, the better off you’ll be,” he said.
6th place: Juniper
Par 3, 180 yards
2022 average: 3.152 (10). Cumulative average: 3.137 (13).
Downhill holes, which O’Meara found to typically play between 170 and 202 yards, end on “very harsh greens.”
Be careful if the pin is on the top right of the green.
“It’s like trying to knock on the coffee table at home,” says O’Meara. “You have to be absolutely accurate otherwise the putt will be very dramatic, uphill and difficult to birdie. Really, only two putts are a bonus.”
The 7th hole, a 450-yard par 4, is less reassuring.
“There is a narrow tee shot with many trees that have been planted over the years, a fairway that slopes fairly well from left to right, and a raised green nestled between these huge sand bunkers. It has different levels, O’Meara said, “and it’s narrow, so you have to get right into that green as well.”
No.12 Golden Bell
Par 3, 155 yards
2022 average: 3.233 (T6). Cumulative average: 3.273 (4).
The dangers that make up the Amen Corner start at number 11, a 520-yard, par-4 test. But like many Masters winners, O’Meara has a special fondness for her horticulturally stunning 12th, the shortest par-3 hole at Augusta National.
“It plays from 128 yards, maybe 162 yards long,” says O’Meara. “But the fact that the greens are so narrow and there are hazards everywhere”—here, he laughs nervously—“that corner of the hole, we’ve seen a lot of drama.”2020 He scored 10 points more than Woods.
“When you see a short iron in the hands of a top pro, you think, ‘Oh, that shouldn’t be a problem,'” O’Meara said. “But amen he’s a little windy in the corners and golf wreaks havoc because he has to be very precise where he lands his ball on the green.”
Of course, the first ingredient to a successful No. 12 is keeping the ball away from Rays Creek. “But,” O’Meara added.
He advises No. 12 friends and amateurs to “choose a club with a solid swing.” – Iron or 9 iron or 7 iron. “
“On that hole, just aim for the middle of the green and play,” he said. “If the wind is blowing, then surely you have to play there. If not, you can be more aggressive against the front left pin or the back right pin.”
Par 5, 545 yards
2022 average: 4.852 (16). Cumulative average: 4.775 (18).
The only hole to be extended in this year’s tournament, the 13th, plays 35 yards longer than last spring. In O’Meara’s heyday, a tall, thick tree guarded his number 13. But now that many are gone and players are hitting the ball farther, perhaps this length will discourage players from trying, he thought, O’Meara. rice field. He turns the corner and bends the shot.
“Maybe the players aren’t going to attack the corner. They’ll hit it sooner,” said O’Meara. “They might have a longer shot to the green, but it might be 215 to 225 yards instead of 190 to 205.”
But O’Meara, far from being a long hitter on the PGA Tour, estimates he hit the green with two shots maybe 20% of the time.
“Play smart shots,” he said. “Don’t be overly aggressive on the hole. Don’t be greedy.”
No. 18: Holly
Par 4, 465 yards
2022 average: 4.389 (2). Cumulative average: 4.229 (7).
Although the 18th hole has been declared “one of golf’s most famous finishing holes,” Augusta National’s official description may underestimate the pressure on players in their quest for victory. left elbow on the fairway. Drives hit in the center often require his irons in the middle on his second shot, with one short bunker on his left and another on his right Deep, narrow green heavily guarded head to “
O’Meara confessed that before 1998, he had long wondered how he could stand on the 18th green and hit a putt to win.
“Everyone is nervous. Everyone is trying to do their best,” O’Meara said. “But the plus for me was when I was on the green, not thinking, ‘Hey Mark, you made this putt, you got the green jacket, you won the Masters, blah blah blah. I mean, it never happened.” I just don’t think you can move on. “
Instead, he reasoned that, faced with the possibility of a playoff, he’d have to make a putt somewhere someday. Why not try to make a decent putt now?
“When I hit the putt, I was about two feet away from the putter and I was like, ‘Oh, thank God I hit a good putt.’ I was just chasing you,” he said.
people got up. There was a TV broadcast. Everyone stared at the cup.
“At about two feet from the hole, ‘Wait a minute. That looks pretty good,'” said O’Meara. “And when it got him a foot or so out of the hole, my last thought was, ‘Don’t stick your lips out.'”