First Look: The Masters

THE TOURNAMENT

We’ve made it… it’s time for the Masters. Many fans agree, this is the best week of the entire season. In this year’s edition we’ll see if Spieth can conquer his 12th hole demons, or if Rory can complete the career Grand Slam, or perhaps we’ll see someone else put on the green jacket for the first time. There are tons of great story lines to follow this week and it all comes on the biggest stage of the season.

This year’s field of 94 golfers is made up of the world’s best, past champions, and a few amateurs. Keep in mind the cut rule is unique at the Masters; either the top 50 and ties will play the weekend, or anyone within 10 strokes of the leader. We know the tournament, now let’s look at what is going to win us the money!

THE COURSE

It’s not as if Augusta National needs much of an introduction as it has firmly staked its claim as the most storied course in the United States, if not the world. The 7,435 yard layout ranks as the 10th longest on Tour, 6th among the par-72s. The superintendent and grounds crew of Augusta National do everything they can to make sure the course plays every bit of that 7,400 yards, starting with mowing the fairways towards the tee box, causing less roll off the tee.

The lack of distance from the box causes lengthy approach shots into some of the hardest to hit greens of the entire season; 61% on average. Much of the trouble to be found around Augusta National comes from simply missing the green. Although there aren’t copious amounts of bunkers, they are strategically placed, many of them greenside. Hitting the green isn’t the end of the adventure for approach shots, as large undulations come into play, forcing the ball into neighboring collection areas. Landing the ball with precision on the correct tier of the green is what separates the contenders from the pretenders at Augusta.

Once golfers are lucky enough to find themselves on the green, they will then be faced with perhaps the most demanding task for competing around Augusta National — putting. Difficult enough due to the large undulations, the fact that these greens run at over 13.5 on the stimpmeter makes putting downright hard.

This is all what makes Augusta, Augusta; the course is designed for drama. Whether it be Phil Mickelson making birdie on five of the last seven holes for his first career major, or Tiger’s incredible chip in on 16 in 2005, Augusta has provided the stage.

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Be sure to check back Wednesday for the Weekend Warriors picks article.

You can also find Going for the Green on Tuesday’s over on FantasyDraft.

Follow me on twitter @GWBuffalo7

Photo by Augusta National/Getty Images

Josh Burkett

From Portland, Maine to Austin, TX in search of anything sports. First love was racing, spending my summers bouncing from track to track across the country. Lifelong New York Rangers, New England Patriots, and Boston Red Sox fan. Follow me on twitter @GWBuffalo7.

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