No. 16 site of many holes-in-one
The 16th hole at Augusta National Golf Club has witnessed its share of exciting moments over the years.
No. 16 plays 170 yards on the scorecard, but the yardage varies by tee and pin placement. The tees were extended in 1961, allowing greater changes in distance. Hole-in-one yardages have varied from 140 to 202 yards.
The story from No. 16 on Sunday is often pin placement. The Masters Tournament has traditionally put the pin in the back right of the green, sitting at the bottom of a slope. It invites golfers to land their tee shot on the slope and let the ball feed toward the hole.
“It’s fun,” said Michael Thompson, who hit to within 3 feet of the hole and made birdie Sunday. “You’re able to throw it up to the right. I landed it probably 2 or 3 yards short of the pin, and it kicked up to the right and came back down. I was kind of hoping it might go in, but it was a little short. There’s some exciting shots there, because you can play that shot. There’s a little bit of room for error and still give yourself a good birdie putt.”
The hole has witnessed 15 holes-in-one in Masters history, almost twice as many as the other three par-3s combined. There have been three instances of multiple holes-in-one at No. 16 in one tournament. The inviting pin placement led to two in 2004 when Padraig Harrington and Kirk Triplett aced the hole in consecutive pairings on Sunday, both with a 6-iron from 177 yards.
Nathan Green and Ryan Moore made holes-in-one in 2010, and Bo Van Pelt and Adam Scott aced it in 2012.
After 1968, no one aced the hole again until 1992, when Corey Pavin ended the drought with an 8-iron from 140 yards.
No. 16, known as Redbud, has averaged 3.16 in Masters history, ranking ninth in difficulty. It ranked 11th in 2012 at 3.11, showing the hole has remained the same in terms of difficulty for much of the tournament’s history.
This year, the hole’s difficulty was 13th at 3.055.
Despite the greater chance of birdie on Sunday, only one player has birdied No. 16 in all four rounds of one Masters: Bert Yancey in 1968.
“If you go long there, it’s actually a tough two-putt, because it’s very quick down there,” Richard Sterne said. “I played it pretty well all week. For me, 7-iron, but it varies between 7, 8, 6. The pin does help, but it’s also tough to sometimes play it, because you push it just a touch and it stays up there. You aim just right of it and see what happens.”
The pond that runs the length of the tee shot was originally a stream, which was transformed in 1947. The green was moved to the right to accommodate the increased amount of water.
The pond is home to the practice-round tradition of skipping balls across the water. Players hit their normal tee shots and, when they reach the front edge of the water, patrons in the grandstand next to the tee box clamor for ball-skipping.
Golfers oblige by trying to hit shots that skip across the pond onto the green.