The Masters: Spieth expertise and how Amen Corner compares – Augusta in numbers

By Sports Desk April 06, 2022

Peaking too soon is a problem for every golf season, for the Masters at Augusta – the first major of the year – is what the sport is all about.

The greatest names have embarked on Georgia in pursuit of a prized green jacket.

But to enjoy a successful Sunday this week, players must get to grips with perhaps the biggest star of them all: the iconic course itself.

Augusta is what makes the Masters the Masters, so Stats Perform breaks down where one of the most prestigious tournaments sport might be won and lost.

LONGEST HOLE

At 575 yards, the par-five second hole – Pink Dogwood – is the longest on the course, but that does not mean it is the toughest, instead offering some respite following the tricky first.

Historically, number two has been played in 4.78 strokes on average, making it the third-easiest hole at Augusta in relation to par. In fact, the lowest average on record came in 2020 (4.467) – and that was not a mere quirk of the strange conditions around the course in recent years without the usual crowds, given the highest average, in 1957, was 4.996. Yep, the second has never played at even par or worse.

SHORTEST HOLE

Skill rather than strength is required to negotiate Redbud, the 170-yard, par-three 16th. Considered too easy in the tournament's early days, the installation of a pond added some peril – and plenty of drama. With three bunkers around the green, too, the tee shot has to be pretty perfect or something spectacular will be required to come up with a birdie, as Tiger Woods will attest. "In your life, have you seen anything like that?"

Unsurprisingly, though, given its length, the 16th is also the setting for the vast majority of the Masters' holes-in-one. Of the 33 in tournament history, 23 have come at Redbud, including the first from amateur Ross Somerville at the inaugural tournament in 1934 but also 16 since the turn of the century. The last came courtesy of Tommy Fleetwood in 2021.

HARDEST HOLE

Think of Augusta and you will likely quickly focus on Amen Corner, but the most daunting challenge of all lies at the hole immediately prior: the par-four number 10 Camellia. Statistically, with a stroke average of 4.3 (0.3 over par), this is as tough as it gets – albeit only fractionally ahead of the 11th.

With its lowest stroke average 4.082 in 2018, the 10th has never played at even par or better... unless your name is Jordan Spieth. The 2015 Masters champion has a real knack around Camellia, with four birdies in four rounds last year. Few others have been able to follow Spieth's example at what was originally the first hole.

EASIEST HOLE

With the hardest hole followed by the second-ranked 11th and fourth-ranked 12th, there might be a sense of relief at Azalea, the par-five number 13 with a 4.77 stroke average. But there is very much a risk-reward approach to this 510-yard hole, at which the player can go for the green in two but must beware the water to the left and the trees to the right.

This is another set-up that suits Spieth well, as it does the absent Phil Mickelson, even if his most memorable shot at Azalea was not exactly an exhibition in playing the hole. An error created the opportunity for Mickelson's six-iron from the pine straw on Sunday in 2010.

THE RECORDS

The course record belongs to Nick Price and Greg Norman, who both shot 63s, but perhaps it should come as no surprise Spieth has the best career average of all players to play 25 or more rounds at Augusta, with his 70.46 leading Woods' 70.87.

That mark will come under threat should Dustin Johnson (71.03) produce anything like his sensational record-breaking 2020 performance again, however. Helped by carding only four bogeys – a low among Masters champions – Johnson's 20-under total of 268 trimmed two off the previous week-long benchmark owned jointly by Woods and Spieth.

Still, with Cameron Smith and Im Sung-jae 'only' five back, Woods' record winning margin of 12 strokes to Tom Kite in 1997 remained.

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  • Tiger Woods eyeing another major after making record-breaking Masters cut Tiger Woods eyeing another major after making record-breaking Masters cut

    Tiger Woods refused to give up on his dream of a 16th major title after making a record 24th consecutive cut in the Masters on another windswept day at Augusta National.

    Woods completed 23 holes in more than seven hours on the course on Friday, a remarkable effort from the injury-ravaged 48-year-old which prompted a standing ovation from the spectators around the 18th green.

    The five-time Masters champion had to shield his face from sand whipped from the bunkers on the last before tapping in to complete a second round of 72 for a halfway total of one over par.

    That left Woods seven shots off the lead shared by playing partner Max Homa, world number one Scottie Scheffler and Bryson DeChambeau, who could only add a 73 to his opening 65.

    “It means I have a chance to win the golf tournament,” Woods said.

    “I’m right there. I don’t think anyone is going to run off and hide right now, but it’s really bunched. The way the ball is moving on the greens, chip shots are being blown, it’s all you want in a golf course today.”

    Asked about his 24th consecutive cut, Woods – who had shared the record of 23 with Freddie Couples and Gary Player – said: “I’ve always loved playing here.

    “I’ve been able to play here since I was 19 years old. It’s one of the honours I don’t take lightly, being able to compete.

    “The years I have missed, I wish I was able to play because there’s such an aura and mystique about playing this golf course that, unless you have played and competed here, you probably don’t really appreciate.”

    Woods was one of 27 players unable to complete their first rounds on Thursday following a lengthy weather delay, the 15-time major winner covering his first 13 holes in one under par.

    Play resumed at 0750 local time (1250BST) on Friday and Woods bogeyed the 14th and 18th to complete a 73 which left him with just 49 minutes to rest, refuel or practise before he got his second round got under way.

    A rollercoaster front nine consisted of three pars, three bogeys and three birdies, including a superb chip-in on the sixth, with a more sedate back nine adding up to a battling 72.

    “It’s been a long day,” Woods said with a smile. “It was a good fight.”

    Asked what it was like playing alongside Woods after adding a 71 to his opening 67, Homa said: “It was awesome. It really is a dream to get to play with him here.

    “I always wanted to just watch him hit iron shots around here, and I was right up next to him. It was really cool.

    “His short game was so good. I don’t think I can explain how good some of the chip shots he hit today were.

    “He’s special. We had a really quick turnaround, and if I was feeling tired and awful, I imagine he was feeling even worse.

    “And on 18, we had sandblasts for 45 seconds, and I turned around five times so I didn’t get crushed in the face, and he’s standing there like a statue and then poured it right in the middle.

    “So all the cliches you hear about him and all the old stories about how he will grind it out, it was fun to see that in person.”

    With winds gusting up to 42mph, the pace of play was funereal and the penultimate group of Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele took six hours and two minutes to complete 18 holes.

    Scheffler added a 72 to his opening 66 and Schauffele returned a second consecutive 72 to remain level par, but McIlroy struggled to a birdie-free 77 to slump to four over.

    Defending champion Jon Rahm was a stroke further back following a 76, with the cut falling at six over to allow two-time winner Jose Maria Olazabal to make the weekend at the age of 58.

  • I’m right there – Tiger Woods not giving up on Masters dream after cut record I’m right there – Tiger Woods not giving up on Masters dream after cut record

    Tiger Woods refused to give up on his dream of a 16th major title after making a record 24th consecutive cut in the Masters on another windswept day at Augusta National.

    Woods completed 23 holes in more than seven hours on the course on Friday, a remarkable effort from the injury-ravaged 48-year-old which prompted a standing ovation from the spectators around the 18th green.

    The five-time Masters champion had to shield his face from sand whipped from the bunkers on the last before tapping in to complete a second round of 72 for a halfway total of one over par.

    That left Woods seven shots off the clubhouse lead shared by playing partner Max Homa and Bryson DeChambeau, who could only add a 73 to his opening 65.

    “It means I have a chance to win the golf tournament,” Woods said.

    “I’m right there. I don’t think anyone is going to run off and hide right now, but it’s really bunched. The way the ball is moving on the greens, chip shots are being blown, it’s all you want in a golf course today.”

    Asked about his 24th consecutive cut, Woods – who had shared the record of 23 with Freddie Couples and Gary Player – said: “I’ve always loved playing here.

    “I’ve been able to play here since I was 19 years old. It’s one of the honours I don’t take lightly, being able to compete.

    “The years I have missed, I wish I was able to play because there’s such an aura and mystique about playing this golf course that, unless you have played and competed here, you probably don’t really appreciate.”

    Woods was one of 27 players unable to complete their first rounds on Thursday following a lengthy weather delay, the 15-time major winner covering his first 13 holes in one under par.

    Play resumed at 0750 local time (1250BST) on Friday and Woods bogeyed the 14th and 18th to complete a 73 which left him with just 49 minutes to rest, refuel or practise before he got his second round got under way.

    A rollercoaster front nine consisted of three pars, three bogeys and three birdies, including a superb chip-in on the sixth, with a more sedate back nine adding up to a battling 72.

    “It’s been a long day,” Woods said with a smile. “It was a good fight.

    “This golf course will expose any weaknesses you have, the greens are quick right now and this wind is all over the place. It was a great test.”

    Coming into the week, Woods had played fewer than five-and-a-half competitive rounds since undergoing ankle surgery in April last year after withdrawing from the Masters during the third round.

    He returned to action in the Hero World Challenge in December and completed all 72 holes, but was forced to withdraw from the Genesis Invitational in February due to illness after six holes of the second round.

    Asked what it was like playing alongside Woods after adding a 71 to his opening 67, Homa said: “It was awesome. It really is a dream to get to play with him here.

    “I always wanted to just watch him hit iron shots around here, and I was right up next to him. It was really cool. His short game was so good. I don’t think I can explain how good some of the chip shots he hit today were.

    “He’s special. We had a really quick turnaround, and if I was feeling tired and awful, I imagine he was feeling even worse.

    “And on 18, we had sandblasts for 45 seconds, and I turned around five times so I didn’t get crushed in the face, and he’s standing there like a statue and then poured it right in the middle.

    “So all the cliches you hear about him and all the old stories about how he will grind it out, it was fun to see that in person.”

    Danny Willett’s bid for an unlikely second Masters title in his first event since undergoing shoulder surgery suffered a massive blow with a triple bogey on the 18th which dropped him five shots off the lead.

  • Tiger Woods makes record 24th consecutive Masters cut after gruelling day Tiger Woods makes record 24th consecutive Masters cut after gruelling day

    Tiger Woods completed 23 holes in a day to make a record 24th consecutive cut in the Masters on another windswept day at Augusta National.

    Woods had to shield his face from sand whipped from the bunkers on the 18th before tapping in for par to add a second round of 72 to his opening 73, a remarkable effort which prompted a standing ovation from the spectators around the green.

    “I’ve been lucky enough to have been able to play this event for all these years,” Woods told ESPN.

    “I did miss the cut as an amateur, but as a pro I’ve done well. It’s just an amazing aura that Augusta National has and I’ve been lucky enough coming here since I was 19 years old.”

    Woods was one of 27 players unable to complete their first rounds on Thursday following a lengthy weather delay, the 15-time major winner covering his first 13 holes in one under par.

    Play resumed at 0750 local time (1250BST) on Friday and Woods bogeyed the 14th following a clumsy chip from short of the green before scrambling for par on the 15th after another misjudged approach.

    Woods then left birdie putts on the 16th and 17th short of the hole before dropping a shot on the last after failing to get up and down from a greenside bunker.

    That gave the 48-year-old an opening 73 and just 49 minutes to rest, refuel or practise before he got his second round got under way with two pars and a birdie on the third.

    Woods bogeyed the par-three fourth after missing the green with his approach and dropped another shot on the fifth after finding a bunker off the tee but made amends in style by chipping in for birdie on the sixth.

    A rollercoaster round continued with a bogey on the seventh and a birdie on the par-five eighth, followed by just a third par of the round on the ninth after hitting his approach into the spectators right of the green.

    The back nine was a quieter affair with seven pars, one birdie and one bogey all adding up to yet another weekend of action at Augusta.

    “It’s been a long day,” Woods said with a smile. “It was a good fight, we did really well out there and I’m still right there in the ball game with a great chance going into the weekend

    “This golf course will expose any weaknesses you have, the greens are quick right now and this wind is all over the place. It was a great test.”

    Coming into the week, Woods had played fewer than five-and-a-half competitive rounds since undergoing ankle surgery in April last year after withdrawing from the Masters during the third round.

    He returned to action in the Hero World Challenge in December and completed all 72 holes, but was forced to withdraw from the Genesis Invitational in February due to illness after six holes of the second round.

    Playing alongside Woods, Max Homa added a 71 to his opening 67 to set the clubhouse target on six under par, with Bryson DeChambeau eight under after 13 holes of his round.

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