Fergus Bisset looks at the impact of the differing pin positions at Augusta National - and how the pros attack them
HOLE 9 – CAROLINA CHERRY
2014 Toughest Day: Round 2 – Avg. score 4.19, Rank 9th (pin back left)
2014 Easiest Day: Round 3 – Avg. score 3.94, Rank 14th (pin centre right)
It’s extremely difficult to get close to this flag when it’s way up in the back left portion of this green. It’s a small target protected by a bunker in front so it’s easy to go long, leaving a treacherous chip back down the slope. On the final day, the pin is normally positioned towards the front left of the putting surface and anything spinning too much will back-up off the green in the style of Greg Norman in 1996. From beyond the flag to the right, players face an incredible putt. This is where you’ll see them starting the ball at right angles to the cup and crossing their fingers that it will stay on the putting surface.
HOLE 11 – WHITE DOGWOOD
2014 Toughest Day: Round 2 – Avg. score 4.59, Rank 1st (pin back left)
2014 Easiest Day: Round 4 – Avg. score 4.26, Rank 4th (pin front right)
This is the hardest hole on the course when the pin is positioned to the left side of this green, as it tends to be on the first two days. Going at the flag is only for the very bravest as it brings the water into play. So players tend to bail out to the right side. In Round 2 last year there were 10 double bogeys on this hole – twice as many as any other on the course that day. Many, like Jonas Blixt’s came as a result of being too greedy and finding water as a result. In round 4 the pin is generally positioned more to the front and right of the green, allowing the players a chance to be a little more aggressive. Look for the best iron players to attack on this one in round 4.
HOLE 13 – AZALEA
2014 Toughest Day: Round 3 – Avg. score 4.75, Rank 16th (pin back right)
2014 Easiest Day: Round 4 – Avg. score 4.45, Rank 18th (pin front)
This hole is one of the easiest on the course by ranking, no matter where the pin is positioned. However, when it’s in the front portion of the green, as it tends to be on the final day, the players view it as a must-birdie. The green slopes from back to front and left to right and, when the pin is in the front section, shots fired into the middle of the putting surface will feed down to it: Remember Seve’s second shot to set up a last round eagle in 1986? When the flag is at the back of the putting surface, either on the left or right side, it’s extremely difficult to get the ball close to it. And going long is not clever. From through the green, with the pin at the back, it’s nigh on impossible to get the ball onto the putting surface and stop it before it takes the slope and disappears to the front of the putting surface and Ray’s Creek beyond.