Threat of ruined round looms inside Amen Corner at the Masters
Amen Corner is known for its beauty, with Rae’s Creek flowing through it and more than 1,600 azaleas lining the tributary that winds down the left side of the 13th hole.
That water, and the swirling winds that are prevalent, make the 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta National among the most dangerous. It’s no coincidence that the highest scores in Masters history have occurred there.
Forty years ago, Japan’s Tommy Nakajima found out the hard way in his Masters debut.
The young pro’s misery began when he pulled his tee shot on No. 13 into the tributary of Rae’s Creek left of the fairway. He took a penalty drop and laid up in the fairway. Then, his fourth shot came up short and found the creek that guards the green.
According to reports in The Augusta Chronicle, he tried to play it out of the water, but the ball bounced off his shoe, costing him a two-shot penalty.
Then he tried to hand his club to his caddie, but the sand wedge touched the water, and that was another two-shot penalty.
He finally hit it out of the creek and over the green. From there, he chipped on and two-putted for his 13.
An interpreter who handled the exchange between Nakajima and reporters said the golfer “lost count.”
“I promised myself to make an eagle but I tried too hard, so I messed up,” Nakajima told reporters.
Nakajima, who shot 80 in the round, played the other 17 holes even par.
Two years later, Masters veteran Tom Weiskopf matched Nakajima’s 13.
Weiskopf, a four-time runner-up at Augusta National, butchered the par-3 12th as he found Rae’s Creek five times.
His 7-iron tee shot spun back into Rae’s Creek. From there he went to the drop area and dumped four more balls into the water.
His 11th shot cleared the trouble and went to the back edge of the green, and from there Weiskopf took two more shots to hole out.
“I had a perfect lie for the second one but it spun back in,” he told reporters after the round. “I should have gone back 50 yards. There was no grass there (drop area), none. You can’t hit it out of holes, fellows.”
Weiskopf went on to shoot 85 in that round, then followed up with 79 to miss the cut.
“I’m extremely embarrassed," he said. "I’ve never been so disappointed.”
Rae’s Creek rarely comes into play at the par-4 11th, but there is a pond guarding the left side of the green.
But it wasn’t the water that tripped up Augusta native Charles Howell there in 2006.
Howell’s nine came without the aid of a penalty stroke. His approach found the bunker behind the green, and that’s where his troubles began.
It took him four tries to get the ball out of the sand, then three more shots to get the ball into the cup.
His score matched the highest in tournament history previously set by three others and matched by Sandy Lyle in 2017.
No. 11 - White Dogwood
No. 12 - Golden Bell
No. 13 - Azalea
NO. 11 - WHITE DOGWOOD | Course Tour Page
Par 4, 505 yards
Dow Finsterwald, 1952
Bo Wininger, 1958
Griff Moody, 1980
Charles Howell, 2006
Sandy Lyle, 2017
NO. 12 - GOLDEN BELL | Course Tour Page
Par 3, 155 yards
Tom Weiskopf, 1980
NO. 13 - AZALEA | Course Tour Page
Par 5, 510 yards
Tommy Nakajima, 1978
ON THIS DATE
1937: Byron Nelson made a birdie at No. 12 and an eagle at No. 13 to make up six strokes on Ralph Guldahl and win his first Masters.
1938: Henry Picard shot 32 on the front nine to help secure a two-shot win over Harry Cooper and Ralph Guldahl.
1940: Lloyd Mangrum shot an Augusta National course-record 64 in the opening round. The mark stood for 25 years.
1995: A plaque commemorating Arnold Palmer’s four Masters victories was dedicated. It is affixed to the drinking fountain behind the 16th tee.