TEE OFF IN the first of this year’s Majors is mere hours away, and if any of the 97-strong field have a few spare moments, we’d like to offer you our handy ‘how to’ guide on winning in Augusta this weekend.
Step 1: Start well, but not too well
Of course, your round on Thursday will go some way to you acquiring a natty new green jacket on Sunday night, but bear this in mind — there have been only four wire-to-wire winners of the Masters. The last of whom was Ray Floyd back in 1976.
Step 2: Location Location Location
Four of the previous six winners have come from south of the equator. South African’s Trevor Immelman and Charl Schwartzel headed the field in 2008 and 2011. While Angel Cabrera and, most recently, Adam Scott won in playoffs. Meanwhile, just three of the past 20 winners have come from Europe.
Step 3: Hope Camelia is nice to you
While all 18 holes can provide tests of players’ nerve and skill, the 10th is historically the toughest at Augusta. The 495-yard par 4 requires you to hook the ball slightly to the left on your tee shot. Your second requires you to avoid a splat-shaped bunker, and you better hope your putting is strong. The 10th is where Angel Cabrera lost last year’s playoff to Adam Scott
Step 4: Don’t be Adam Scott
While the Aussie is one of the favourites this year, deservedly so given his fine form, he’ll have to replicate a feat only three men have achieved.
Just Jack Nicklaus (1965 & 1966), Nick Faldo (1989 & 1990) and Tiger Woods (2001 & 2002) have successfully retained the green jacket. Then again, Scott overcame last year’s rule of ‘Don’t Be An Aussie’, so perhaps he can buck this trend as well.
Step 5: Use your experience
A record 24 rookies will tee off at Augusta tomorrow — the highest ever number of first timers. The previous record was 23 back in 1935. Sadly, history provides some bad news if you’re one of them.
Just three men have won at Augusta on their first try. Horton Smith won in 1934, Gene Sarazen the following year, with the most recent rookie to win being Fuzzy Zoeller all of 35 years ago. But there have been tournament wins under the belts of Matt Jones, Steven Bowditch and Jimmy Walker since last year’s Masters, so who knows?
Step 6: Keep your cool
Rory McIlroy famously carded an 80 after leading the field by four shots heading into the final round in 2011. But this year marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most famous chokes in Masters history.
In the 1989 tournament, Nick Faldo and Scott Hoch went head-to-head in a playoff. At the first hole of that play-off, Faldo found a bunker with his approach shot, while Hoch was safely on the green. Faldo eventually made his way on to the green, carding a bogey 5. Hoch’s birdie putt ran 2 feet by the hole. The American was left with a simple par putt to win. He missed, and Faldo claimed his second Major.
Step 7: Be Irish, now that Tiger’s out
A back injury is keeping Tiger Woods from this year’s spin round Augusta, which could prove good news for the Northern Irish trio of Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke.
Why? Well, in four previous majors that Tiger missed through injury, Irish men were celebrating on the Sunday. In 2008 Padraig Harrington claimed both the Open and the US Open. And in 2011, with Woods absent from both yet again, Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke were the men to profit.
Source: Associated Press
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