But mainly this is Billy Joe Patton's hole. A lot of them are, one way or another, but it was at the 6th in the final round of 1954 that Billy Joe caused the greatest roar in Masters annals. For two rounds, despite a series of gambling shots, most of them truly unwise, he had led the field. And he was an amateur. But by the end of the third day he was five strokes behind. That is how he played, up and down, in and out. The crowds swarmed to him and embraced him, and he chatted amiably between his outrageous gambles.
He was to go out the final day in four-under 32 and catch Ben Hogan, the leader, and Sam Snead, the eventual winner. And he would do it primarily with the loudest five-iron Georgia ever heard. What Billy Joe's five-iron at the 6th hole did was sail right into the cup for a hole in one. Right there before 15,000 people.
Hearing the cheer, prolonged and wild, Bob Jones said in his cottage, "Billy Joe's done something again."
Patton lost that Masters on the back nine, with a bogey and double bogey at the par-5s, but he provided more fun and frustration over a four-day period than anyone at Augusta ever has.
The 6th hole is one of those postcard beauties where the green lies below a high tee. In the early days the green included a giant mound right of center. It looked exactly like the name that players gave it: "The hill where they buried the elephant." There is still a swollen knoll on the putting surface, but it is not mammoth anymore; zebra, possibly.
NO. 7, 365 YARDS, PAR 4
The late Horton Smith, who won two of the first three Masters, deserves credit for suggesting the change that transformed the 7th hole into one of the best on the course. Originally the green sat low, requiring another of those runup shots Jones wanted to achieve. Smith thought it should be Americanized. And it was. The green was raised and surrounded by four bunkers. It now requires as much finesse as any pitch shot the best of pros can hit.
There is a "Masters-type" panorama to the 7th, where a huge leaderboard rises behind the green, invariably engulfed by fans. It is one of the most frustrating holes on the course. The length suggests that it ought to be birdied, but the pitch shot takes the easy birdie away. Here, again, is a hole where Jack Nicklaus in 1965, en route to his 64, drew away from the field. He hit a wedge shot that bounced up to within two feet of the cup—another bird. It was this shot, as much as any other, that prompted Bob Jones to say, "Nicklaus plays a game with which I am not familiar."
NO. 8, 530 YARDS, PAR 5
The 8th hole calls for two demanding shots, either of which can drift into the woods and turn what is considered to be a birdie hole into a problem par. Furthermore, it is uphill almost all the way, with the second shot a blind one if the golfer is attempting to reach the green.