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Posted April 02, 2015 11:04 pm
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The 16th: Home of Great Shots

Par-3 known for its great shots, including birdies from Palmer, Nicklaus and Woods

Arnold Palmer - 1962

It’s the final round of the 1962 Masters, and Gary Player is trying to become the first repeat winner in the tournament’s history.

He’s hit his tee shot on the par-3 16th to about 10 feet from the pin, which is cut on the left, and chief rival Arnold Palmer has put his ball on the right fringe.

Advantage Player, or so everyone thought.

“I did the unforgivable,” Player recalled. “I said to my caddie – Nipper was his name – I said, ‘Nipper, we’ve won.’ ”

Even CBS announcer Jimmy Dema­ret, a three-time Masters winner, figured Play­er had won.

Palmer, about 45 feet from the hole, elected to play a wedge from the fringe.

“As it rolled and rolled I got happier and happier,” Palmer said. “Because I knew the ball was going to be close. I never thought that it was going to roll in the hole, but you know the feeling you get when that happens.”

The ball lodged between the pin and cup for an unlikely birdie, and Player missed his putt. When Palmer birdied the 17th hole, it set up the first three-way playoff in Masters history.

Palmer birdied the 16th again as part of an incoming 31 to beat Player and Dow Finsterwald for his third Masters triumph.

INTERACTIVE: See what the patrons see as they take in the action from the 16th hole in our exclusive 360-degree image.

Jack Nicklaus - 1975

There’s a reason the Jack Nicklaus plaque is located between the 16th green and the 17th tee at Augusta National.

No player has benefited more from the hole than Nicklaus, who made birdies at the 16th in the final round of three of his Masters wins.

Nicklaus knocked in short birdie putts at the 16th in his first and last wins at Augusta National. But it was his birdie in 1975 that stands out.

Nicklaus was in an epic battle with Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller.

The three had traded birdies all Sunday afternoon, and now they had reached a critical juncture. Nicklaus hit his tee shot at 16 a little short and had 40 feet left for birdie. Weiskopf and Miller were on the 15th green.

Just before Nicklaus putted, Weiskopf had birdied the par-5 15th.

That sent the gallery into a frenzy, and CBS announcer Ben Wright said, “That is evil music ringing in Nicklaus’ ears.”

But when Nicklaus responded by knocking in his 40-foot birdie putt, Henry Longhurst described it this way:

“That has to be the greatest putt I ever saw in my life. And now Weiskopf will have to take it as he dished it out before.”

Miller said he didn’t see Nicklaus’ putt on 16, but later quipped, “I saw the bear tracks when I got to the green.”

A shaken Weiskopf made bogey at 16 to fall behind Nicklaus, who won a record fifth green jacket.


“The hole played very different depending on where you put the pin,” Jack Nicklaus said of the traditional pin locations at 16.

FRONT RIGHT: “I could cut a little shot in there and get it there fairly decent,” he said. “It played short if you played that right pin position.”

BACK RIGHT: “The one on the top is really tough,” he said. “That’s one I never played at. I played for the middle of the green. If you happen to get it up, OK, if you don’t, then you’re basically putting uphill 30 feet. That’s the one I made in 1975.”

FRONT LEFT: “Anything on the left side I was able to get it pretty close,” he said. “If you put the short left position it was really an easy hole.”

BACK LEFT: “Back left is where they traditionally put it in the final round and is a really easy hole,” he said.

Tiger Woods - 2005

Tiger Woods was in jail.

He had played brilliant golf all day long in the final round in 2005, but Chris DiMarco wouldn’t go away. And now, he had blown an 8-iron over the green at the 16th.

It would take a Houdini-like effort to make par and maintain a one-shot lead.

Woods chose to play his chip well above the hole. Woods and caddie Steve Williams watched as it slowly made its way toward the cup. The ball stopped momentarily, flashing the Nike logo, then dropped for a most unlikely birdie.

“Oh my goodness,” CBS Verne Lundquist said as he described the shot. “Oh wow. In your life, have you seen anything like that?”

Woods bogeyed the next two holes and wound up in a sudden-death playoff with DiMarco. On the first extra hole at No. 18, Woods sank a birdie putt to nab his fourth green jacket.

But it is his chip on the 16th that is best remembered.

“I wasn’t thinking about chipping it in,” Woods said. “Under the circumstances, it was one of the best shots I’ve hit.”


PAR 3 | 170 yards

The 16th ranks as the ninth hardest hole in tournament history. After World War II, it was transformed from a short hole with a benign pitch over a small stream into a longer, harder hole with the tee shot played entirely over a pond. Three greenside bunkers offer a layer of defense for the second-shortest hole on the course. The green is the primary defense with its right-to-left slope. Placing the tee shot below the hole is crucial.





Theater of Drama

Favorite place to watch? Try the 16th hole, which is the last good spot for golfers to pick up a birdie and a fun hole for the patrons that offers a mix of danger alongside the occasional hole-in-one.



Redbud, the name given to the hole because of the prevalent flower, didn’t always require a tee shot that carried entirely over water. Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones originally designed a short hole that featured a small stream running in front of the green. 
“A tee shot played for the middle of the putting surface, but with a slight draw, can be made to curl down toward the hole. This, of course, involves a risk that the draw may be overdone, landing its perpetrator in the sand or water.” 
– Bobby Jones, in a 1959 Sports Illustrated article
“This is a somewhat similar hole over a stream to the best hole (seventh) at Stoke Poges, England. … The green is more visible and the background more attractive.” 
– Alister MacKenzie, in the 1934 Masters program
“So like a good castle defender, the introduction of water, which was already present at the creek, was expanded by the new lakes on No. 11 and No. 16 by my father. And as Bobby Jones so famously stated, the difference between a bunker and a water hazard is the difference between a car crash and a plane crash. You can recover from the former but not the latter.”
– Robert Trent Jones Jr., a renowned architect
A look at memorable moments at hole No. 16 and the transformation of the par 3:
1934: Hole is played at 145 yards and is No. 7 (the nines were reversed a year later); amateur Ross
Somerville makes first hole in-one in Masters history using a mashie niblick
1941: Craig Wood is first champion to birdie hole in final round en route to victory
1946: New green built
1947: Architect Robert Trent Jones transformed the stream into a pond that ran the length of the  fairway. He also shifted the tees from right of the 15th green to their present location. Instead of a relatively benign pitch, golfers faced a more difficult tee shot and a trickier green.
1948: Length of hole increased to 190 yards
1950: Herman Barron takes an 11, the highest score recorded in tournament play on the hole
1961: Masters tees are extended and moved to left
1966: Neck of pond and left rear of green filled in
1968: Bert Yancey birdies the hole in all four rounds
1973: Left section of pond filled in
1978: Gary Player makes birdie as part of final-round 64, lowest final round score by a champion
1980: Length of hole shortened to its present length of 170 yards
1986: Jack Nicklaus hits tee shot to 3 feet in final round charge and becomes oldest to win 
1999: Davis Love III sinks chip shot and finishes second to Jose Maria Olazabal.
2004: Padraig Harrington and Kirk Triplett make holes-in-one in final round in consecutive groups