Home' Australian Golf Digest : April 2018 Contents 76 australiangolfdigest.com.au | april 2018
teacher There’s a big difference between
chipping to eight feet and five feet at Augusta.
From eight feet, pros make 50 percent of
their putts. From five feet, they make 75
percent. So every four times you chip to eight
feet instead of five feet, you give up a shot.
That happens more at Augusta than at most
courses on tour.
teacher He had eight two-chips in the
Bahamas, and he had a lot he didn’t chip
close at all. He did have some really bad lies,
but eight times? That’s a lot for a scratch
player, never mind a top pro.
former tour pro People were making
excuses about the quality of the lies at the
Bahamas, but 12 years ago nothing was too
tough for Tiger.
teacher Shitty chipping can eat away at your
game. Guys with great short games can be
aggressive with their approach shots. But if
they get edgy on the chips, they inevitably
play more to the middle of the greens. So
they get more 40-foot birdie putts and more
four-footers for par. Over time, that guy is
going to get yippy on those short ones. If
that scenario plays out for Tiger, it will be
a disaster at Augusta. There are places on
those greens where – to certain pins – you
might as well be in a bunker. You can’t get
within six feet.
former tour pro The knees are more active.
The tempo is more abrupt, as is the change
in direction from back to through. He’s not as
smooth on the little 20-yard chips.
former tour pro In all of his four wins
there, he chipped like a genius.
multiple winner on tour He has the
imagination to chip well at Augusta. So many
shots are on the ground. Very rarely do you
see a flop shot. You need to chip and run. So
imagination and feel are so important.
teacher Augusta will be difficult for him
because of the way they cut the grass.
Virtually every chip within five yards of
the green is going to be into the grain. That
requires a very precise strike to land the ball
in a precise spot, which is how you control
the roll-out. There is no more difficult place
to chip than Augusta.
major champion His left shoulder is a little
high. Look at old film, and that shoulder was
lower, and he would drive through the shot,
and he would do that better than anyone.
broadcaster He went into his previous
Masters duffing chips all over the place, yet
he was fine when he got there, so you can
never tell with him.
major champion If I were him, I’d be asking
Butch Harmon for help.
teacher Back in the day, Tiger’s approach
play was so spectacular, he gave himself
more makeable putts. Not all 20-footers are
created equal, especially at Augusta. His
ability to keep his ball below the hole was
huge, which is why he holed a lot of putts.
teacher Look closer at the Hero World
Challenge. A lot of people felt he putted
really well there. But he had four three-putts,
and some of the good putts he did make were
second putts. You don’t win tournaments
with four three-putts. Not against the best
in the world. And certainly not at Augusta.
Plus, four three-putts on that course in the
Bahamas translates to maybe twice as many
at the Masters. Look at, say, the top-15 in the
world. At least one of those guys is going to
play 72 holes at Augusta and have zero
three-putts, or one. If that guy keeps it out
of the water, he’s going to be tough to beat.
It’s that simple.
former tour pro If Tiger misses one early,
that sets the tone for the whole day.
major champion Tiger putts like everyone
else now. He was superhuman for a while.
major champion Most golfers have parts
of the game that they “get” a little easier
than other parts. Gary Player in bunkers,
Seve around the greens, Fred Funk with the
driver. Tiger’s putting is like that. He just
gets putting. Whether that carries over into
making big putts down the stretch is the
question. That’s a different skill from just
putting. That’s a mental skill.
teacher Back in the day, Tiger putted better
than anyone ever has under pressure. That
guy is gone. Which is not to say he’s not a
great putter, and is not to say he can’t win
broadcaster No one gets better on the
greens in their 40s. But he is Tiger Woods.
You never say never with him.
major champion The changes to the course
hurt him a lot. Augusta has changed from
being a second-shot course to a tee-shot
course. You can’t play from out of the trees,
and they’re getting bigger as the driving
areas have gotten smaller, which hurts
Tiger. Driving accurately has never been his
strength. Not since 2000, anyway.
former tour pro I’m not sure the Tiger-
proofing made much difference. We’d already
seen the best of him by that point.
teacher The biggest reason he hasn’t
won the Masters in 13 years is too many
three-putts. It’s that simple. To win the
Masters, you can’t three-putt more than a
couple of times.
major champion Somewhere along the line,
he stopped being able to hit a big draw with
major champion I’ve played with Langer
and Couples and Mickelson at Augusta. You
learn from them every time. Tiger is the
same. They all have historical knowledge,
which is way more important than recent
knowledge. They’ve seen every pin. Fred
plays so smart there. He hits it wide on all
the holes you need to hit it wide. He misses
under the hole. It looks like he’s playing
crap, and it adds up to 69.
teacher How you play the course hasn’t
changed. Guys figure that out pretty quickly.
When the pins are in certain places, there are
obvious ways to play those holes, and how
not to play them. History says that it’s tough
to win there the first time, but it doesn’t take
10 years to figure it all out, either.
tour caddie I went to Augusta for the first
time and had to do a lot of homework, but
the second and third times, I had it figured
out. It’s not that complicated. If you have a
brain at all, you figure it out pretty quickly.
Local knowledge there is overrated. The
truth is, it’s not that good a course.
former tour pro In Tiger’s case, I think
that playing there as often as he has can be
a disadvantage – he knows exactly where all
the bad spots are.
multiple winner on tour If you went to
the old tee on 15 now, I guarantee you Rory,
Dustin, Brooks, Berger and Rickie would all
be hitting wedge to the green. That wasn’t
the case in 1997. Tiger was the only one then.
tour caddie You couldn’t build a course he
couldn’t compete on before all the nonsense
in his life.
major champion The Tiger-proofing
worked with the second cut. Before they did
that, Tiger could hit it anywhere almost and
keep it on the green. He still played great, but
the one or two or three shots he lost – that
he didn’t lose when everything was fairway –
kept him from winning.
multiple winner on tour Is there a smarter
golfer – other than Jack – than Tiger? I can’t
see Rory or Dustin or anyone playing a rock-
hard course and using driver only once over
72 holes as Tiger did at Hoylake. No modern
player has the patience to do that. Tiger had
multiple winner on tour Local knowledge
is great if you have control of your shots, or
at least enough control to minimise the bad
shots. But what has local knowledge done for
him [at Augusta] the past 10 years? I’m not
seeing any wins in there.
teacher All they really did was set the
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