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THE MASTER ON THE MASTERS
Robert T. Jones Jr.
April 06, 1959
The greatest golfer of them all writes a special hole-by-hole description of the course and gives his own strategy for mastering it
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April 06, 1959

The Master On The Masters

The greatest golfer of them all writes a special hole-by-hole description of the course and gives his own strategy for mastering it

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Pin locations on the right side may vary from an acceptable one in the V-shaped front of the green through a crown about halfway back, from which the ball may be expected to fall off to the left, back to a gently gathering area at the rear. With the pin on this side, the threats come from the bunkers on the right and the runoff of the green toward the left.

Apart from the visible hazards on this hole, the player who leaves his ball on the forward area of the green with the pin near the back can have quite a problem getting down in the two regulation putts. Three putts on this green sealed Hogan's defeat by Snead in their 1954 playoff.

17
400 YARDS PAR 4

The pine tree in the fairway, although it is only a little more than a hundred yards from the tee, has grown to such proportions that it provides a real menace to the tee shot. The proper line of play is to the right of this tree, but also to the left of the big mounds and two other trees at the top of the hill. Depending upon the wind, a fine drive may leave a second shot requiring anything from a good five-iron or easy four to a short pitch. To become involved with the mounds on the right may impose difficulties of either lie or visibility, or both.

On the left side the green slopes gently, but quite perceptibly, from front to back. With a following wind, therefore, even the shortest pitch over the bunker and the slopes off the base of the mound must be played quite accurately. A ball played too strongly to this side of the green may take a good run off a slope at the back and so leave a difficult return chip. On the right side immediately behind the bunker there is a nice little basin which provides a most inviting place for the pin on quiet days. On this side the green slopes very definitely upward toward a sort of plateau area near the back. This is a very difficult Pin location when the wind is against, because a shot played boldly to get near the hole could go over the green, down a slope, whereas the safe shot may call for some difficult putts.

The hole looks innocuous enough, yet it provided the decisive moments in the 1956 tournament when Jack Burke, in a stretch run against Ken Venturi and Cary Middlecoff, scored a birdie 3 at the hole while Venturi took 5 and Middlecoff 6. Burke won by one stroke over Venturi and two over Middlecoff.

18
420 YARDS PAR 4

This hole is a slight dogleg to the right, the bend in the fairway coming at the top of a hill which can just about be carried by a fine tee shot. The bunker at the left front of the green makes it a matter of some importance to drive as close as possible to the trees lining the right side of the fairway or even, if possible, to bend the tee shot a bit around the corner.

The front area of this green is nicely molded to receive a pitch and provide a good putt for a birdie when the hole is cut here. Yet a ball driven to the left side of the fairway safely away from the trees must be pitched quite closely over the guarding bunker. Behind this friendly area, the putting surface slopes upward to the middle of the green. A second shot played up this slope even a dozen feet past the hole calls for a delicate approach putt and can very easily result in three putts. It was from just such a position that Ben Hogan 3-putted to lose by one stroke to Herman Keiser in 1946. In 1958 both Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins tried and missed similar putts to tie Arnold Palmer.

This 18th green is quite long. The rear one-quarter of the putting surface embraces a plateau area which is often used as a pin location. The great difficulty here is to be up without going over. A second shot played into the slope in the middle of the green either stops or rolls back, so that the ensuing putt is difficult indeed.

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