Home' Australian Golf Digest : April 2018 Contents righty: the par-3 12th. If I pull my
tee shot, it goes long and right,
while a push is short left. Both
are safe and on the green. For
right-handers, those same shots
are long left (bunker or bushes)
and short right (in Rae’s Creek).
Now think about this. Six
out of the past 15 Masters
champions have been left-
handed. It’s a phenomenal
stat given there are so few in
the field each year. In this
spell, Mickelson and Bubba
Watson have shared five green
jackets while Mike Weir was
unconscious with his putter the
year he won.
Who claims victory this year
is anyone’s guess, but don’t be
surprised if a lefty ventures
into Butler Cabin on the Sunday
Mickelson was 13-under while I
was even-par. Over the rest of the
holes, I beat him by four strokes!
Looking back, I wish I’d had
another 30 metres off the tee
because taking advantage of the
par 5s is a huge key to winning
around Augusta and tough
to do as a shorter hitter. That
and the fact the course suits
left-handers. The majority of
tee shots favour a high, right-
to-left ball flight – a fade for a
lefty. That’s very controllable
plus the fade is great for holding
approach shots into the firm
greens. Length has become
virtually a prerequisite since
they’ve continually extended
the course after Tiger Woods
decimated it in 1997.
One of the easier holes for a
lefty is one of the hardest for a
The Golf Life Opinion by Nick O’Hern
Left Is Right
NE of my dumbest
decisions while playing
the Masters happens to
be one of my favourite memories.
Heading into the 2005
tournament, I felt pretty
comfortable about how to play
Augusta National even though
it was my first time there. The
weekend prior, I’d hired a local
caddie to walk around the
course with my regular caddie,
Wilbur, and me. His guidance
was priceless as he explained
the swirling winds in Amen
Corner, angles of attack into
greens and certain putts that
broke in the opposite direction
to how they looked.
I was sticking to my game plan
pretty well in the first round
until I reached my second shot
on the par-5 15th. The play was
to lay-up to the left side to offer
the best angle for my third shot
to that day’s right-hand hole
location. Under no circumstance
unless I had a mid-iron in hand.
Then nostalgia hit me. Gazing
down at the sliver of green
framed by ponds in front and
beyond, the sun bathing the
surrounding foliage in a golden
hue, I ’d seen this incredible
image so many times before but
never in person.
I said to Wilbur, “I like 3-wood.”
“What! Are you crazy?” he
said. “We discussed this. Long is
almost dead and short definitely
is. Trust your wedge game.”
“I don’t care,” I said. “I’ve
watched this shot on TV for more
than 20 years. I’m going for it!”
Seeing the look in my eye, he
knew he couldn’t talk me around
so reluctantly let me go. I flushed
it straight over the back of the
green (not surprisingly) into
one of the most difficult spots in
world golf to make a score from.
Thankfully, I managed to scrape
out a par.
Walking off the green, Wilbur
said, “Never again, OK?!”
I replied, “Yeah, sorry mate.
Understood. Just couldn’t help
He smiled back but
underneath I knew he was pissed
off. That’s the allure of Augusta.
It tempts you into hitting shots
you shouldn’t , but I would’ve
always regretted not taking that
shot on at least once.
I finished equal 45th that
year. Not great, but not too bad
for a first attempt. My best result
came the next year when Phil
Mickelson won with a total of
seven-under par. My two -over
score was nine strokes behind in
T-19th. On the par 5s that week,
‘I’ve watched this shot on TV for more
than 20 years. I’m going for it!’
Left-handers have an
advantage in parts
of Augusta National.
32 australiangolfdigest.com.au | april 2018
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