Why is it that the shortest holes often produce the most fear for a golfer?
The 17th at TPC Sawgrass is surrounded by water.
The Postage Stamp at Troon has many a pot bunker.
And the 12th at Augusta National has Rae’s Creek and wind. Lots of wind.
When golfers reach the second leg of Amen Corner this weekend, they will take great care to select the right club.
At just 155 yards, it is by far the shortest hole on the course. If a shot comes up short, it often finds the creek that crosses in front or the bunker that guards the fat part of the green. Long is no bargain, either, with a pair of bunkers behind the green.
The swirling winds at Augusta National seem to pile up at Amen Corner, even though it is the lowest point on the course. Historically, the 12th hole is the fourth hardest.
Just ask Jordan Spieth what he thinks of the hole named Golden Bell.
In 2016, the Texan was cruising to a second consecutive Masters win. It would have made him just the fourth golfer to win back-to-back green jackets.
Instead, with the hole cut in its traditional Sunday spot on the far right, Spieth pushed his tee shot right and found Rae’s Creek. He dropped and hit his third shot into the water. After another drop, he cleared the water and put his ball in one of the back bunkers. He had to get that up and down just to make a quadruple bogey 7.
Goodbye, green jacket.
Before the 2017 Masters, Spieth paid a visit to Augusta National to exorcise his demons. He rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt.
“I was like, there was no chance I was leaving this short,” he said a year ago. “I was pumped to hit the green, and then I hit my putt and it just about stopped short on the front lip and fell in for two. I probably gave like a big fist pump. I was walking around with my hands up, like the demon’s gone.”
Spieth is again in the hunt for the green jacket, but he isn’t getting too far ahead of himself.
“I know as well as anybody anything can happen at Augusta National,” he said Thursday.
Especially at the 12th.