AUGUSTA, Ga. – Augusta National, there really isn’t a place like it.
The tradition, the immaculate fairways and greens, the tall pine trees, the azaleas, the immense yet classy atmosphere, and much more; there’s a reason players and fans alike love coming to the year’s first major.
But what spot on these hallowed grounds do players love the most? What scene continually makes them catch their breath, even after years of Masters under their belts?
Here is a selection of some players’ favorite spots at Augusta National:
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No. 11 fairway, with Amen Corner in sight; No. 12 green/No. 13 tee area
“When I first got there two years ago, me and Johnny (Smart, his caddie) came and played a couple weeks before the tournament a couple years ago. It’s just, you can’t really describe it, until you’ve been fortunate enough – even as a spectator walking in the ropes, it’s an amazing place. But to walk down the fairway and you get to the crest of the hill, probably you’re going to have been 190 or 200 yards out from the green on 11 and it opens up, and it’s a surreal place. Obviously you’ve got the background and you’ve got the famous bridge and you’ve got 12 just tucked in there and obviously you have 13 tee tucked in the back. It’s a beautiful sight.
“… But yeah, (Amen Corner) it’s a beautiful place. Right down on the corner, 12 green, 13 tee, you have patrons down there. It’s one of the quietest areas on the golf course. You can still hear obviously all the crowds from around, but to go back out there on the corner on 12 and 13, away from everybody, it is really a nice place to kind of just gather your thoughts and kind of look out there over the rest of the golf course.”
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Amen Corner, specifically walking down following tee shot on No. 11
“You’re never going to go past Amen Corner. When you come around the 11th, once you’ve hit your tee shot on 11, you go down and then when it just opens out and you can see the 12th tee and you can see across the 13th, that for me is stunning and it’s a little calmer down there on a windy day. It’s a stunning place. It’s all going on. It’s busy enough because there’s three holes there altogether.
“I remember leading one year (2002), I was 6 under through 11 holes and I was panicking big time going through those holes because there can be birdies made on them but they’re difficult as well, there’s double bogeys ahead of you. You’re leading the tournament, (but) you’re panicking because there’s a lot of danger out there.”
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No. 11, with a view of Amen Corner
“Probably standing on the 11th looking down 12. That’s the best spot on the course. It doesn’t get better than that view really.”
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Amen Corner, particularly No. 12
“Amen Corner is a very special place and a place where a lot of things can happen. I think I’m no different. I’ve had success; I’ve had failure down in that part of the course, and yeah, you’ve just got to be on with your game.
“And 12th hole in particular is one that certainly can come and bite you. We know, I mean, supposedly there’s no fans down there in the trees, but it seems that way a lot of times, right? (Talking to the moderator) You sure there’s no fans down there? It’s a tricky part of the golf course and you’ve just got to be committed and hit the right shot at the right times down there.”
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No. 12, from the tee
“Takes my breath away is one way of look at it: No. 12. Not from its beauty even though it’s a very nice hole, it’s just how it plays with the wind and how it swirls around. It’s almost a nightmare down there when it’s windy because it’s anyone’s guess. I’ve played with multiple guys now and tried to get as much experience on that hole and information on how it plays, and everyone’s basically said your guess is as good as any.”
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No. 2 fairway; Nos. 10, 11 and 12
“I would say, staring up on the second shot at No. 2, looking down and seeing all of those people on the golf course in the background. I would then go to No. 10, hitting your second shot into that green, and 11 and 12. Those would be my favorites, those four.”
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No. 10, coming down toward the green
“Ten is still beautiful. Ten coming down to the green is unbelievably beautiful. That’s the prettiest hole for me on the golf course.”
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Clubhouse, second-floor balcony
“As weird as it is, when you’re sitting in there eating and you look out and see all those people, because that’s where you can kind of look down the most. Just like today, I mean, it’s, whatever, Monday, and I’m looking out and there’s people right on the first tee and that’s really cool, on the first tee with all the people. You can look down and see 9 green and 2 and a little of 7.
“Like today I got some food and went out and just kind of stood there for a couple minutes and just watched all the people. I don’t know, there’s no sporting event like it.”
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Clubhouse, with a stunning view of the course
“I think it’s when the people aren’t here and you can see from the clubhouse all the way Nos. 9, 10, 18 all the way down. That’s pretty nice.”