The most memorable shot in Amen Corner’s history wasn’t a double eagle or hole-in-one.
It was a 140-foot pitch shot, and it was the shot of a lifetime for Augusta native Larry Mize.
In a sudden-death playoff with Greg Norman and Seve Ballesteros at the 1987 Masters, Mize was the underdog. Ballesteros was eliminated on No. 10, the first extra hole, and Mize and Norman headed for the 11th hole.
After Mize missed the green to the right, he left himself a 140-foot shot. He played the pitch perfectly and the ball rattled the pin and fell into the cup for an improbable birdie, setting off a wild celebration by Mize.
“I didn’t think Larry would get down in two, and I was right,” Norman said. “He got down in one.”
Perhaps the second most memorable shot at Amen Corner belongs to Fred Couples.
Couples came to the 12th tee in 1992 with the lead. Every golfer knows that to fire at the pin, tucked in its traditional Sunday placement in the right corner, is folly.
Couples was trying to play it safe, but he blocked his tee shot. It hit the bank on the far side of Rae’s Creek and, defying gravity, did not roll back into the water.
From there, Couples chipped up close to save his par, and he went on to win by two strokes over close friend and mentor Raymond Floyd.
“The biggest break, probably, of my life,” Couples said after slipping into his green jacket. “I’m not so sure what would have happened if it would have went in the water like everybody else’s.”
The par-3 12th has been aced three times in Masters history, and the first one by Claude Harmon in 1947 prompted a funny exchange.
Harmon’s playing partner, Ben Hogan, didn’t seem to notice the unusual feat. The stoic Hogan had made a birdie of his own at No. 12.
According to "Talking On Tour," the exchange went like this:
Hogan: “You know, Claude, I can’t remember the last time I made a two there. What did you make?”
Harmon: “Why, Ben, I made an ace.”
Hogan: “Oh, well, that’s great, Claude.”
Curtis Strange made a hole-in-one at the 12th in 1988, but he doesn’t have the ball in his trophy case.
After retrieving it from the cup, Strange turned and threw it into Rae’s Creek.
“There was no real reason why I threw it in the creek,” he said. “I just did.”
A double eagle is the rarest shot in golf, and that is no exception at the Masters.
The par-5 13th hole has yielded hundreds of eagles through the years, but the only double eagle came in the final round of 1994 from Jeff Maggert.
Maggert’s 3-iron shot from 222 yards found the cup and put him in exclusive company with Gene Sarazen (1935, No. 15), Bruce Devlin (1967, No. 8) and Louis Oosthuizen (2012, No. 2).
“1 was pretty lucky that it went in,” Maggert said. “It was going pretty fast when it hit the pin. It hit the pin and went straight down in the cup.
“Everybody started yelling and screaming. I felt like I was in the lead or something.”
No. 11 - White Dogwood
Par 4, 505 yards
The start of Amen Corner is the most difficult hole in recent years because of its added length. A slight fade off the tee is necessary to reach the fairway. The greenside pond is more of a factor, because players have longer shots into the green.
No. 12 - Golden Bell
Par 3, 155 yards
The shortest hole is a bear to play because of swirling winds. Its usually a medium- or short-iron shot to a narrow green that is protected by Raes Creek in front and azaleas behind.
No. 13 - Azalea
Par 5, 510 yards
The classic risk-reward hole became more challenging with a new tee added in 2002. A slight draw is required to get into position for the second shot to the par-5, but a tributary of the creek catches shots that come up short.