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Posted April 02, 2015 11:04 pm
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The 16th: Theater of Drama

At 16th hole, golfers can make their move while patrons soak it all in

Patrons gathered at No. 16 watch Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth during the final round of last year's tournament. JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/FILE

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

Where’s the best place to experience the excitement of the Masters Tournament?

Amen Corner? Great history, but you can’t get close to the greens.

The 18th hole? A grand stage, to be sure, but it’s a popular and crowded spot.

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.

Six-time Masters winner Jack Nicklaus, who made key birdies on No. 16 in his victories in 1963, 1975 and 1986, said the hole suited him.

“I had good success on the hole. It came after you were through with most of the water. It looked like you had water on No. 16 but I never paid attention to it,” Nicklaus said.


 

 

HOLE 16

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.


 

 

The hillside overlooking the pond at the 16th offers views of three greens, two fairways and leaderboards. FILE/STAFF

VIEWS

Stadium seating: In 2008, Augusta National added a viewing area on the hillside overlooking the pond and green. A storm wiped out some trees, so the club converted the area into a place that has become popular with patrons. From the hill, fans can see the greens at Nos. 6, 15 and 16 and also action on the 15th and 17th fairways.

For patrons wanting to keep up with those in contention, there is a leaderboard on the adjacent sixth hole and one near the 15th green.

Patrons at the 16th hole applaud after Adam Scott made his hole-in-one during the final round in 2012. FILE/STAFF

Behind the green: Savvy patrons arrive early and stake out a spot behind the green that offers a great view, particularly when the pin is in its traditional back-left location on Sunday.


 

 

Graham DeLaet skips his ball on the pond on No. 16 during the Tuesday practice round in 2014. CHRIS ALUKA BERRY/STAFF

ATMOSPHERE

TRADITION: In the 1980s, a new tradition emerged at the 16th that became a fan favorite: skipping balls across the pond. Ken Green claims he and Mark Calcavecchia started skipping balls during practice rounds, and he says former Chairman Hord Hardin wrote him a letter about it. Other reports claim Lee Trevino was the first.

Now, the tradition is embraced.

After players hit their tee shots and make their way to the front edge of the water, they are encouraged to drop a second ball and try to skip it over the water and onto the green.

Nailed it: In 2009, Vijay Singh (left) achieved perfection when he skipped his ball across the water and it fell into the cup for an ace. Martin Kaymer did the same in 2012.

Back in the day: The 16th hole has long been a popular gathering spot. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was the place to be for students taking a break from college, and that spirit is still alive today.

 

DRAMA

Hole-in-one: The real excitement at No. 16 comes when a hole-in-one is made. Fifteen aces have been made on the hole through the years, which is more than the other par-3s combined. The highlight came in 2004, when Padraig Harrington and Kirk Triplett made aces in consecutive groups during the final round.

Birdies: At the 16th, nearly a quarter of Masters winners (19) have made a birdie in the final round en route to their victories.

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.


 

HOLES-IN-ONE

GolferYearRoundClubYards
Ross Somerville*19342ndmashie niblick145
Willie Goggin19351stspade mashie145
Ray Billows*19403rd8-iron145
John Dawson*19493rd4-iron190
Clive Clark19681st2-iron190
Corey Pavin19922nd8-iron140
Raymond Floyd19964th5-iron182
Padraig Harrington20044th6-iron177
Kirk Triplett20044th6-iron177
Trevor Immelman20054th7-iron177
Ian Poulter20081st8-iron169
Nathan Green20104th6-iron176
Ryan Moore20104th7-iron176
Adam Scott20124th7-iron202
Bo Van Pelt20124th6-iron202

 

 

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170 yards
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This par-3 is known for its great shots, including famous birdies from Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.