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What’s the scariest downhill putt at Augusta National?


Rare is the golfer who doesn’t light up when talking about Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters. The spiritual setting that warms the heart, the singular tournament that stirs the senses. The explosion of colors, the anticipation of a Sunday charge. A 12th hole that basks in beauty while serving as a devilish conquest, a green jacket that triggers dreams and lives on forever.

The gathering every April among the Georgia pines is matchless, from Augusta National Women’s Amateur to the Drive, Chip and Putt competition. While we won’t be seeing any of these events in the coming days due to the coronavirus pandemic, we think you’ll still be interested in reading about Masters traditions, the iconic holes at Augusta National and your favorite golfers who would have been in the field this month.

Golfweek surveyed 39 golfers, including 14 winners of the green jacket and 24 major champions in all, to get their views on certain features of Augusta National and the Masters. From putting to eating to predicting to offering their architectural viewpoints, we’ll roll out their takes on a variety of topics in the next 10 days.

What is the scariest downhill putt during the Masters?

“Oddly enough, I’ve always thought, although it’s not one of the fastest greens, but it was so difficult to make a putt on 10 going downhill because there was so much break in them.” Six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus

“On No. 1, the front-left pin. It’s brutal. Even if you’re pin-high right, it’s downhill, down-grain, and it’s just a pin that gets the heart pumping.” – 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson

“Fifteen above the hole gets about as wicked as any putt can be. And you get on the wrong side of the hole on one, to those left pins, right out of the gate, and you’re just, ‘Oh, boy, here we go.’ And they’re normally for par, too.” – 2015 Masters champion Jordan Spieth

“Quite a few of them. But I would say on the sixth hole when the pin is back left and you push in onto the top-right tier, because there’s a chance you’re putting it down to the front part of the green.” – Luke Donald

“The ones on nine and 15, when you’re above the hole, are so scary. They are almost impossible to stop.” – Brandt Snedeker

“On a makeable, 10-, 15-foot putt, I would say at No. 10, it gets quite scary down there. To a lot of locations on that hole.” – 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia

“Honestly, the putt to the front-left pin on the first hole. Your nerves are jangling out of the gates, and that front-left pin is nothing but all kinds of difficult to deal with. The first green is one of the hardest on the golf course and it’s difficult to deal with because you’ve got the nerves and the adrenaline to deal with and you haven’t calmed down yet.” – 2013 Masters champion Adam Scott

“All of them.” – 2003 U.S. Open champion Jim Furyk

Jim Furyk putts on the 16th green during the second round of the 2014 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

“I’d say all of them.” – 2016 U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson

“I’d say No. 9, from the back of the green to the front of the green. Really tough, really scary.” – Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer

“No. 16, above the hole to any of the bottom pins, is the fastest putt on the course.” – Three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson 

“I would say No. 15, if you are on the right side of the green with the pin up front on the left. It’s like a 5-inch backswing for a 30-yard putt.” – 1988 Masters champion Sandy Lyle

“Literally, any of them. All the ones where you have to play outside the hole and you have to trust that it’s going to move. Especially the ones from 4-, 5-, 6-feet where you have to play a cup or more outside the hole. And you’re always thinking about where the ball could go. Sometimes you just can’t stop it until it’s four or five feet past the hole.” – Rickie Fowler

“There all pretty scary. But I’ll go with the front-left pin on 13 when you’re above the whole. Remember when Tiger Woods putted it into the water. That can be a glassy, scary one.” – 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell

“Ooh. If you are right of the pin on 16, on the top tier, and the pin is on the bottom tier, like I did on Sunday last year, I don’t know how you can hit it soft enough and get the break correct. It almost looks impossible to me.” – Kevin Kisner

Rory McIlroy walks off the 13th green during a practice round for the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Pjhoto by Rob Schumacher/USA TODAY Sports

“Oh, geez. So many. But probably pin-high on 13 when the pin is on the bottom shelf, because you can literally putt it into Rae’s Creek.” – Four-time major champion Rory McIlroy

“Long left to a front-right or front-left pin on one is really, really fast.” – Bill Haas

“Let me run through the holes. Probably 15. If you’re anywhere at the top of the green and you have to putt down to the front-left pin, that is scary. It can go into the water.” – 2015 PGA champion Jason Day

“Front left pin on the first. You get anywhere above it, that’s the scariest putt on the golf course. It’s the first hole of the day and you don’t know how fast the greens are.” – Paul Casey

“Well, all of them. But at one, if you get above the hole, you’re worrying about putting it off the green. And you’re just trying to get off to a good start and get comfortable on those greens. So if you get above the hole on one, that’s not how you want to start the day.” – 2019 U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland

“I would say on hole No. 6 when the pin is top-right and you’re above the hole. You can literally putt the ball off the green in a heartbeat.” – 1998 Masters champion Mark O’Meara

“The first hole to the front-left pin. Anything from the middle to the back of the green really scares me. It could go off to the right, off to the left. That’s an under-the-radar one where the putt can so easily get away from you.” – Matt Kuchar

“Above the hole on No. 6 when the pin is top-right. If you hit it two feet too far, you’re 30 yards off the front of the green.” – Keith Mitchell

“No. 3, the Sunday pin on the left. In the back of your head you’re thinking you can so easily putt the ball off the green.” Nick Watney

“Ninth hole. That front flag. In a second you can knock it off the green and it will go 40, 50 yards.” – 2011 PGA champion Keegan Bradley

“If you get above the hole on the first hole, that’s sneaky quick. Some of the other ones, like going to the front-right on 14, you know that one’s really quick so you inherently just get it started. But on the first hole, it’s the scariest one because there’s way more pitch than you think and you’re just starting your round.” – Patrick Cantlay 

“There’s lots of them.” – 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel

“That’s a great question. I’d go No. 9, pin up front-left. When you have that putt from six feet, it’s scary as heck. And when you have to putt from 40, 50 feet, down the tiers, that’s when you really get nervous, because you know you can easily go off the green.” – Two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson

“There’s one just about every hole. I have to think about that one. I’d have to go with No. 9 when you’re above the hole. You can putt it off the green just like that.” – Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen

“Let me think about that. Ooh, I got one. On 16, if you’re on the top shelf and the pin is on the other tier. The chances of an amateur getting a two-putt is 3 percent. For a Tour pro, you’re going to have a 7-, 8-footer coming back.” – Kevin Na

“There are so many. I would say some of the scariest putts are at nine and 10 when you get above the hole. On 10, you can have 25 feet from the middle of the green to the front-right pin and it has 10 or 12 feet of break in it. It’s lightning quick.” – 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman

“No. 15, front-right pin, when the wind is blowing back up the fairway. If you hit it a touch too hard, and it goes three feet by and the wind is blowing, you start praying it doesn’t go into the water.” – Billy Horschel

“Hmm. That’s a good one. Above the hole on 2 to the left pin. If you have a four-footer there and you don’t hit it into the hole, you have at least double that coming back.” – Tony Finau

“Ooh. That’s a good one. You can find one on every hole. Well, I’d have to say if you ended up on the top of No. 6 and the pin was in the front. But I mean, they are all scary. The one on No. 9, when you’re above the hole and you have to putt the ball into the fringe. So, so, so many scary ones there.” – Patton Kizzire

Justin Rose lines up a putt on the ninth green during the 2017 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

“Mine definitely was in 2003. I was on the wrong tier to the front-right pin on No. 9 and I had to two-putt to make the cut. I was sweating. I rolled it down there with one of the best lag putts I’ve ever hit and it still went four feet by. But I wiggled it in and made the cut.” – 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose

“No. 9 from the top shelf when the pin is on the bottom shelf. It has your full attention, I promise. You try so hard not to think of what could go wrong, but you can’t get that out of your mind.” – Charles Howell III

Editor’s note: Check back each day for another Masters Survey.

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Adrian Woody
Adrian Woody Author
Contributor At Industry News Blog

Having the apt skills to play with words to put forth various updates and news relating to the field of technology in an interesting way has made Adrian is a contributor in our organization. He is dedicated to writing articles related to all the up-to-the-minute inventions, launches, updates, and much more happening in the world of technology. In his free time, Adrian offers a guest lecture to kids about the latest inventions.

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