The 77th US Masters tees off a week later than usual on Thursday 11th April 2013 because of a quirk in the 2013 PGA Tour schedule. Where the Masters traditionally ends on the second Sunday of April, this year that means an additional tournament pre-Augusta in the form of the Texas Valero Open hosted at the AT&T Four Oaks course, TPC San Antonio. The now traditional Masters curtain raiser, the Shell Houston Open, will be played across an "early" March Easter weekend meaning that non-qualifiers have an additional chance by winning in San Antonio to qualify for the biggest golf tournament of the year.
Once the field arrive in Georgia they will greeted by the most perfect golfing property on the planet. Augusta National Golf Club with Rae's Creek, Amen Corner and a whole host of tricky holes, represents a challenge for even the best. Set in the hills outside of Augusta, ex-championship golfer Bobby Jones set out to use the contours of the natural property to provide the courses' challenge rather than a high number of bunkers and associated high rough. So in tandem with Scottish course architect Alister Mackenzie who died before the course was ever fully opened, they designed the course through the natural rolling woodland countryside and it finally opened in January 1933. Since then the course was redesigned in 2001 by Tom Fazio and again after Zach Johnson's win in 2007 in a bid to make it "Tiger proof". Fact is though, the course design alters pretty much every year with slight changes to tee positions and green complexes and it's pretty much true that every aspect of the course can be managed by the powers that be - especially the speed of the Bentgrass greens via sub-Air systems under every undulating green surface. Traditionally they are the fastest putting surfaces on the planet.
Augusta is like no other Major Golf Championship as fans have the unique opportunity to become familiar with the course, something the other three rotating majors don't afford. Below you'll find key information about the course, previous champions and winning performances.
Augusta National, Augusta, Georgia.
Designer: Alister Mackenzie 1933 with Tom Fazio redesign 2001; Course Type: Classical; Par: 72; Length: 7,435 yards; Water Hazards: 6; Bunkers: 44; Fairways: Perennial Rye; Rough: Perennial Rye 1.38"; Greens: 6,486 sq.ft average featuring Bentgrass; Stimpmeter: 14ft; Scoring Avg 2012: 73.5; Ranked 8 of 49 courses for difficulty on the 2012 PGA Tour.
The key to winning the Masters is to maximise the Par 5s and to minimise bogeys elsewhere. Only 5 of Augusta National's holes played under par in 2012 - 4 of them being the Par 5s. A birdie on any of the 14 other holes is an absolute bonus, although Hole 3 Flowering Peach is a real opportunity on the front 9, which in general plays slightly harder than the more iconic back 9.
|2||Pink Dogwood||575||5||4.64||18||11||White Dogwood||505||4||4.32||2|
|3||Flowering Peach||350||4||3.90||14||12||Golden Bell||155||3||3.06||13|
|4||Flower Crab Apple||240||3||3.22||6||13||Azalea||510||5||4.72||16|
Previous Champions (Winners Score) 2012: Bubba Watson (-10); 2011: Charl Schwartzel (-14); 2010: Phil Mickelson (-16); 2009: Angel Cabrera (-12); 2008: Trevor Immelman (-8); 2007: Zach Johnson (+1); 2006: Phil Mickelson (-7); 2005: Tiger Woods (-12); 2004: Phil Mickelson (-9); 2003: Mike Weir (-7); 2002: Tiger Woods (-12); 2001: Tiger Woods (-16); 2000: Vijay Singh (-10).
Bubba plays "that shot" in the 2012 The Masters Play off win over Louis Oosthuizen
So what are the constituents needed to become Masters Champion? Well you need to hit 6/10 fairways minimum. Since the significant course changes prior to the 2008 Masters, all winners have also hit around 70% of Greens in Regulation - a minimum of 50 of the 72 greens. You also need to be a 290+ yard average driver of the golf ball to win around Augusta and that in a way leads onto the key ability required to win. Maximising the 16 Par 5s played across the 4 rounds. The last 4 winners have played their combined 64 Par 5 holes in -38.
|Driv Acc||GIR%||Drive Dist||Long Drive||Par 3||Par 4||Par 5|
Steve will be publishing his selections for this season's US Masters here on the Tuesday afternoon before the event.
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