US Masters: Fearsome 11th hole still felling many a pretender

White Dogwood, which serves as the introduction to Amen Corner, is a real tough nut

 Larry Mize celebrates chipping in at the  11th hole to win the US Masters in  1987. Photograph: David Cannon /Allsport

Larry Mize celebrates chipping in at the 11th hole to win the US Masters in 1987. Photograph: David Cannon /Allsport

 

that provides an abundance of white flowers at this time of the year. The tree itself is a beauty to behold, but here, as the 11th hole of Augusta National Golf Club, it is a perennially source of pain for players with their eyes on the green jacket.

Over the years, this par 4 has proven to be as hard as any hole on the course. In last year’s tournament, it played as the toughest of them all – averaging 4.48 – and, historically, only the 10th has ranked tougher.

White Dogwood serves as the introduction to Amen Corner, a tee shot that plays downhill and left-to-right. A pond guards the green to the left and a bunker is strategically placed right-centre. It is a hole that has evolved: in 1950, the pond by the green was built; in 2002, the tees were moved back 30-35 yards and moved five yards to the player’s right; in 2004, 36 pine trees were added to the right of the fairway; and, in 2006, the tees were moved back a further 15 yards as part of the so-called Tiger-proofing exercise.

In yesterday’s first round, the evidence of its toughness was still apparent as Charley Hoffman, Russell Henley, Justin Rose, Patrick Reed and Bubba Watson – all players who had made strong starts – struggled.

They all bogeyed the hole, which was playing to an average of 4.40 and living up to its reputation as one of the most fearsome holes in golf.

Famously defeated

Larry Mize

To this day, Mize has refused to try to repeat the shot. “The only way I go over there is if I hit the ball in that area during the tournament. The thing is, if I go back and hit the shot again, then my memory is not of the shot. Now when I see the shot [on TV], it keeps the memory pure. It’s one of the great decisions I’ve made, never gone back.”

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