The 78th Masters Tournament
Augusta National Golf Club
Yards: 7,435 per the scorecard
Par: 72 (36-36)
Rough: Ryegrass at 1.38”;
Water Hazards: 6
Course Architect: Alister MacKenzie and Robert Tyre Jones, Jr., (1933)
Purse: $8,102,801 in 2013
Winner’s Share: $1,440,000 in 2013
FexExCup Points: 600 to the winner
Defending Champion: Adam Scott defeated Angel Cabrera on the second playoff hole to win his first green jacket and first major championship.
Dates: April 10-13
Format: Stroke play
Notes: Beginning in 2013, the top 50 and ties plus any player within 10 shots of the lead play the weekend.
Recent History Lessons
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won the first 17 of 21 events of 2013-14. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson, Russell Henley, Chesson Hadley and Matt Every have collected the hardware this year flying the US flag. Matt Jones now joins Steven Bowditch, John Senden and Jason Day as only Australia is representing the rest of the world with the other four victories. Is there any Fosters left then?
Matt Jones joins Steven Bowditch, Matt Every, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Stadler and Chesson Hadley as the first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year and we’ve had six in 21 events so far in 2014, including three in a row!
Young Guns Versus Prime Time Versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and has since added two more wins to lead the FedExCup standings. He has been joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia, Zach Johnson (37) at Kapalua, Kevin Stadler (33), at WMPO and Bubba Watson (35), joined them at Riviera. For the second week in a row a 30-year old joins the party as Steven Bowditch joined Matt Every in back-to-back weeks for the Prime Timers. This victory levels the ledger with the Young Guns at nine victories apiece.
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) are the twenty-somethings on the board.
The Old Guys fired last week with Jerry Kelly and Jim Furyk finishing at T6. Australian John Senden, 42, has the only victory for the Old Guys. #AustraliaAustraliaAustralia
Pay Attention: It’s FREE
In the previous 77 Masters, only Fuzzy Zoeller (1979) has won in his first appearance. He is also the only first-time to break par in all four rounds. Whoa.
Jack Nicklaus is the oldest winner at 46 years of age. He also has the largest collection of jackets with six.
Tiger Woods is the youngest winner at 21 years of age.
Only Jack Nicklaus (1965-66), Nick Faldo (1989-90) and Tiger Woods (2001-02) have defended their championships. Faldo won both in playoffs.
The last two Masters champions have won via playoff. There have been 16 playoffs in history.
Adam Scott is the only Australian champion.
Angel Cabrera is the only South American winner.
Mike Weir is the only Canadian winner.
Jose-Maria Olazabal is the last European to win. That was 1999.
Texas has the most green jacket winners with 12. The last Texan to don the famous blazer was Ben Crenshaw in 1995.
Adam Scott was the third consecutive first-time winner at Augusta. He joined Charl Schwartzel (2011) and Bubba Watson (2012).
Interesting that five of the last seven winners at Augusta have been first-timers.
In the last 19 majors, there have been 15 different champions. The only multiple winners have been Angel Cabrera, Ernie Els, Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson.
In the last 20 majors, only FOUR of the 54-hole leaders have gone on to win.
The last three winners at Augusta did NOT lead at ANY point in the tournament. #bizzare
The last four winners have trailed entering Sunday morning.
Never give up. Tiger Woods and Nick Faldo trailed by seven shots after the first round before winning in 2005 and 1990, respectively.
Never give up part II. Jack Burke trailed by EIGHT shots after 36 and 54 holes in 1956. Nick Faldo made up six shots in 1996 to beat Greg Norman.
Never give up part III. The last four winners have all fired rounds in the 60s on Sunday to win.
The course record is 63 set by Nick Price and Greg Norman.
The tournament record is 270 (-18) by Tiger Woods in 1997. His 12 shot margin of victory that year is also the largest.
The average winning score since the installation of Bentgrass in 1981 is 279 (9-under).
The last wire-to-wire champ was Raymond Floyd in 1976.
The most birdies made were 25 of them by Phil Mickelson in 2010.
Anthony Kim, remember him?, made 11 birdies in ONE round in 2010 but didn’t set the course record. #figures #noitdoesn’t
The low round for a first-timer is Jason Day’s 64 in round two in 2011.
The last player to NOT break 70 and win was Augusta’s own Larry Mize in 1987. Every time they show the highlights of his playoff, that chip ALWAYS goes in! Poor Greg Norman.
The average amount of tournaments before winning is six. Don’t tell that to Zach Johnson, Trevor Immelman, Charl Schwartzel or Bubba Watson.
The Par Three winner has never gone on to win the tournament. Go ahead and wait until Wednesday evening before submitting your roster.
The last player to win at Augusta and claim another major in the same season was Tiger Woods in 2005.
All past champions are eligible for life so I won’t bore you with ALL of them. He’s a look at who’s won recently:
2013 Adam Scott
2012 Bubba Watson
2011 Charl Schwartzel
2010 Phil Mickelson
2009 Angel Cabrera
2008 Trevor Immelman
2007 Zach Johnson
2006 Phil Mickelson
2005 Tiger Woods
2004 Phil Mickelson
2003 Mike Weir
2002 Tiger Woods
2001 Tiger Woods
2000 Vijay Singh
Inside the Ropes
One of the greatest players of all time wanted to create one of the greatest golf experiences of all time and Bobby Jones did both with Augusta National Golf Club. The property used for the course design was the old Fruitland Nurseries ground. Jones hired Dr. Alister MacKenzie to help him realize his vision of designing a course and a tournament that would bring the world his vision of what golf and a golf course should be.
Bobby Jones believed the best players in the world should be tested mentally as well as physically inside the ropes. He believed that most holes should hold the possibility of birdie as well as double bogey. His design included heavy mounding instead of heavy bunkering and plenty of risk-reward avenues that would make or break players. Great examples of this style can be found following the lapping of Rae’s Creek or the ponds in front of Nos. 15 and 16 which affect the mind and the body on Sunday afternoon.
The course provides an excellent test of golf. Players will have to deal with elevation changes, blind shots, water, sand and multi-tiered greens. If that’s not enough, for four days they’ll have to manage Georgia weather that can include plenty of wind, rain and/or heat and sunshine. Throw on top of that lightning-quick greens, no rough and the pressure of winning one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world and now we’re cooking!
In the end, Jones’ course wins. It always wins. The beauty of the grounds enhanced by the former nursery’s flora and fauna is immaculate in person and, thankfully for most of us, on television. The most fascinating part of the course, which is hard to decipher on the television, is how hilly it is. The players will have to adjust for elevation changes and blind shots. Inexperienced players will be taking in all the sights and sounds. The experienced players will be scouring their old yardage books for all of the answers they think they found the last time they were here.
This week, experience is the first criteria on my list. I have mentioned above that recently first-timer major winners have been the order of the day but I also mentioned that the average times of playing before a victory is six. Over 77 of these, I’m going to ride the averages rather than the short term trend. I bet in 1980 folks were wondering if another first-timer at Augusta could do what Fuzzy Zoeller did in 1979. Here we are 35 years later still wondering.
Fortune favors the brave but not the stupid, in my opinion. Young players these days are fearless and sometimes around a place like this, that’s not the best idea. There is no rough but there are plenty of areas that players can find trouble. With greens running as fast as nature allows finding the proper part of the putting surface with second shots is the most important playing quality this week. Guys who have trouble controlling their iron play must be ultra-premium putters or the bogey train will fill up quickly. Every pin location cannot be attacked. The experienced player knows which pins are for suckers and which ones are green light specials. Those with youthful exuberance will learn this lesson quickly if they choose to see how the weekend plays out.
The reason I love the Masters the most of them all is because players are forced to win the tournament. While par is always a great score in majors golf, Augusta National Golf Club is set up to identify the winner by who executes on the back nine on Sunday. As noted above, large comebacks are not out of the ordinary here unlike a U.S. Open or PGA Championship where the back nine is usually survive and advance. Nos. 10, 11 and 12 are the three hardest holes on the course. Nos. 13 and 15 are the two easiest. Nos. 17 and 18 are no picnic either. Remember, the Masters starts proper on the back nine on Sunday!
The winner this week will keep his golf ball out of trouble, take care of business on the par-five holes and should have some pop off the tee. Taking a look back at the list of recent winners only Zach Johnson and Mike Weir stand out as guys who don’t crush it. They are superb short-game artists. Ball-strikers should flourish because they will find the proper parts of the fairways and greens that will give them the best scoring chances. As we’ve seen the last two years with Watson and Scott, putting isn’t the key to success around Augusta as both of those gentlemen are nowhere near the top 100 in putting on TOUR and yet they both navigated these slick greens. The guys who can move it off the tee will be helpful if the course takes on rain as well. Playing wet, uphill and over 7,400 yards will favor the bombers and won’t require premium putting.