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The par-3 12th is Augusta’s short little terror
Question of the Day
The shortest hole at Augusta National is in the heart of Amen Corner, 155 yards of sheer hell.
Jack Nicklaus called the tee shot on No. 12 the toughest on the entire golf course. When he shot 30 on the back nine in 1986 to win the Masters for the sixth time, that amazing charge featured one bogey. Guess which hole?
You bet. The one called Golden Bell.
“It is not necessarily impossible,” Ben Hogan once said. “It simply seems to require more skill than I have at the moment.”
More than skill, this par 3 requires a wing and a prayer.
A year ago, Angel Cabrera and K.J. Choi fell out of the lead by hitting over the green on No. 12 and making bogeys. Luke Donald fell from contention by hitting into Rae’s Creek short of the green.
As an example of the capricious wind pattern, Bob Rosburg hit 4-iron into a strong wind at the 1956 Masters, except the wind abated without warning and his ball sent off property onto adjacent Augusta Country Club. He reloaded, stayed with the 4-iron, and put it on the green for a two-putt double bogey.
That explains Tiger Woods‘ reply when asked if he ever felt comfortable standing on that tee.
“Absolutely,” Woods said. “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.”
After all these years, the wind still plays tricks in the minds of golf’s best players. Even when a player hits what he thinks is the perfect shot, with the right club, there is still an element of hope _ a quiet prayer _ until the ball comes back to earth.
For Fred Couples, it was sheer luck in 1992, perhaps the most famous moment on the hole. His shot came up short in the final round and was slowly rolling down the bank toward Rae’s Creek when it was held up blade of grass. He made par and went on to win the Masters.
Scott Verplank earned a spot in the Masters record book in 2003 as the only player to make birdie all four rounds. But what he said about the 12th hole a few years later still resonates today.
“No matter what happens with equipment, that hole will always be a delicate shot,” Verplank said. “It might be the toughest shot you ever hit. The margin of error is minute.”
The hole features an hourglass green that tilts diagonally away from the tee box. Just over Rae’s Creek is a deep bunker in the middle of the green. On either side of the sand, the bank is shaved so that balls tumble down into the water. There are two bunkers behind the green, from where players again are confronted with Rae’s Creek. Behind the bunkers is a beautiful garden where Greg Norman once lost a ball in the third round of 1999.
The trouble never ends.
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