Eagles at 15 were routine, and going for the green in two became so automatic that one of the most famous shots at 15 was one not taken. Off the lead by three strokes in '93, Chip Beck didn't go for a reachable green on his second shot and was roundly called a coward and worse.
Last year the Masters committee planted a stand of trees on the right side so that shots that once bounded merrily down the slope now end up in jail. The result has been more weenie second shots. Suddenly the pros were hitting a delicate third from a downslope. And they were hitting it into a green with a safe landing area of, oh, maybe 10 to 15 feet. In last year's second round Duval, challenging for the lead, hit his third shot into the water, his fifth over the back and was never in contention again after a triple-bogey 8. During last Saturday's windblown round, there were more layups at 15 than at a Princeton basketball practice; only 12 players went for the green in two.
This year Duval hit a sweet second into the 15th, but Singh, hitting after him, trumped him with that gorgeous, I'm-no-Chip-Beck four-iron. The best way to beat 13 and 15, Singh showed, is to stare 'em down and never blink. But remember: The sisters have a whole lot of time to plot and scheme and figure out how to mess things up next year.
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