If it’s the second weekend of April, it must be The Masters and the first major championship of 2019.
In theory, it should always be slightly easier trying to assess the fortunes of those taking part at Augusta National, than in the other three slams, because it is the only major to be staged over the same course every year.
It also helps that the field is considerably smaller than those at The Open, US Open and PGA Championship.
Getting The Best Out Of Augusta National
Although short hitters rarely prosper at Augusta, it’s never simply been about raw power.
Despite its generous fairways and little rough, there’s so much more to shooting low scores here than just blasting a long, straight ball off a tee.
In order to take advantage of a long drive, it’s more vital here than anywhere to find the best angle to attack the pin from the fairway.
And this is because Augusta has some of the most treacherous putting surfaces in professional golf.
The undulating greens, combined with a Stimpmeter reading that is higher than at most events on the PGA Tour, means there is very little room for error in this part of Georgia.
Fast, Slippery And Unforgiving Putting Surfaces
At the majority of tournaments, the Stimpmeter usually clocks somewhere in the region of 11 or 12, but in the majors it can be 13 or 14, making the prospect of three-putting a real danger.
So, to reduce the likelihood of suffering from this most annoying of outcomes, the key is to find the right area of the fairway, from where an accurate iron approach will help to diminish (although never completely eliminate at this venue) the probability of taking three stabs.
The last thing a golfer needs is to leave a putt of more than 18 to 20 feet, when the focus can suddenly change from ‘trying to make birdie’ to ‘trying to prevent three putts’.
The ultimate heartbreak befell Tom Weiskopf 50 years ago this month when he had 13 three-putts over 72 holes, to finish joint-second, one shot behind winner George Archer – and you can bet there will be many more sob stories this week when it comes to Augusta’s soul-destroying and slippery putting surfaces.
Thus good course management, the ability to drive long and accurately with the aim of leaving a short iron into the green, will pay dividends at The Masters, not to mention a solid putting stroke and a strong nerve. That’s what it takes to win around Augusta.
THREE TOP-10s AT AUGUSTA (Since Jan 1st, 2014)
THREE TOP-10s (Since Start of February this year)
Si Woo Kim
MC* – Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut
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