It has been a Sunday Masters staple — a hole location for Augusta National Golf Club’s tricky par-3 16th that allows players to use the bank of the green to draw the ball close.
Some of the tournament’s most indelible memories were born here — Jack Nicklaus’ amazing tee shot barely missing the stick in 1986, Tiger Woods’ chip-in 2005, and then Tiger again last year when he used the slope masterfully to pull away in the final round.
But in this topsy-turvy year of 2020, the folks who run the Masters have thrown us yet another curveball, this time a back right hole location that will make the hole play differently.
During Sunday’s Instagram Live segment Mornings from Augusta, Golfweek senior writer David Dusek had a theory.
It starts at the 9:00 mark:
Dusek said he thinks the abnormally low scores forced the Masters to rethink the iconic placement.
“It’s shocking, to be honest,” Dusek said of the different hole location. “You can pretty much take it to the bank that that’s what we’re going to get.
“The scores are really, really low … Dustin Johnson’s going out at a really low score and a couple other guys are going out at really low scores. If Augusta National was not able to use the SubAir system to really get the greens as firm as they would want them to be, by putting the pin placement high right on 16, it’s almost impossible to get it close.”
Dusek said that should leave some long putts for the world’s best.
“That slope wants to drag everything back down towards the pond,” Dusek said. “We’re going to see 55 guys out of 60 putting 30-footers up that slope.”
The reaction from the golf world was mixed — some were appreciative of the new approach …
— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) November 15, 2020
… and some were not:
Why have they changed the traditional 16th pin position at The Masters?!
— Craig Tracey (@craig4nwarks) November 15, 2020
— gacattak (@gacattak) November 15, 2020