Some numbers say don't 'Bubba-proof' Augusta

Bubba Watson during his 2014 Masters win at Augusta National.

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Sounds a bit extreme to suggest that alterations need to be made to Augusta National to combat Bubba Watson, no?

His scoring average for 24 rounds at Augusta is 71.79. For the last three seasons it’s 71.08.

Wow, he’s brought the place to its knees.

Statistically, Adam Scott has played Augusta better than Watson the last three Aprils – his scoring average is better (71.00 to 71.08), he’s better against par (12 under to 11 under), and he’s got the same number of rounds in the 60s (five).

Compare Watson’s first six Masters (2009-14) to Tiger Woods’ first six as a pro (1997-2002) and Jack Nicklaus’ first six at making the cut (1960-65) – 24 competitive rounds for each – and you further understand how it would behoove everyone to take a step back and see if perhaps a few deep breaths will help their Bubba Golf hysteria.

Some of the numbers, for comparison sakes:

  • Wins: Woods 3, Nicklaus 2, Watson 2.
  • Scoring average: Woods 69.83, Nicklaus 71.72, Watson 71.79.
  • Rounds in 60s: Woods 10, Watson 6, Nicklaus 5.
  • Sub-par rounds: Woods 17, Nicklaus 12, Watson 11.
  • To par: Woods 52 under, Nicklaus 18 under, Watson 5 under.
  • Top 10s: Woods 5, Nicklaus 4, Watson 2.

All of which means what? Simply this: Great players do great things, sometimes for a period of a few years, and often in impressive fashion. It goes back to Old Tom, so let’s chill out.

Did Woods’ three green jackets in six years prompt changes to the course? It had plenty to do with it, but it’s been well documented that it was a Phil Mickelson drive at the 11th hole that convinced Hootie Johnson that changes had to be made.

The changes were thoughtfully done and veterans will tell you that they helped return Augusta to what it was supposed to be. But to make more changes because one guy plays a robust style that happened to pay off two of the last three seasons?

Sounds like silly season has started early.

• Rude: Augusta National should Bubba-proof course

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