Full 2018 Masters Preview

General view of the 13th hole

The Masters. The best week in golf (sports) — the first week in April. Every spring since 1934 this has meant the golf world sets its sights on one place and one place only: Augusta.

Bobby Jones sought after he retired from golf to build a championship course. He essentially envisioned the Masters before the Masters existed. After searching different potential locations, he stumbled upon the land where Augusta National now sits, and said, “Perfect! And to think this ground has been lying here all these years waiting for someone to come along and lay a golf course upon it.”

Work began in 1931 and the course opened in 1933. Jones and Alister MacKenzie designed the course; sadly, MacKenzie died before the first Masters first began in 1934.

That year, the nines were reversed from their present order. They’d be flopped the following year and have remained that way ever since.


Jack Nicklaus has won the most Masters with 6; Tiger and Arnie each have 4.

The Course

Masters Preview - Day 3

Augusta today is 7,435 yards, par 72. It’s got virtually no rough. We were there yesterday, and I logged what it’s like visiting those hallowed grounds for the first time here, and honestly the entire property is perfectly mowed grass. It’s wild.

Even the pine straw is perfect. There’s no funky lies — it’s all immaculate and right in front of your face.

Masters 1st hole mowers

Notable holes? Let’s look at a few of my favorites.

Hole 1, 445


Tough little opening shot with the huge bunker right, trees left. And the green is no joke, just ask Ernie Els.

Hole 2, 575 yards

The Masters - Round One

I love this hole, then again I love every hole. Need to feature a little right to left off the tee, then give it a rip on this severely downhill approach to an AWESOMELY unique green.

Or just do this.

Hole 3, 350 yards

The Masters - Round Two

The shortest par 4 on the course. Our friend Gary Player told a great story today about how he sat next to Bobby Jones at Masters dinner once and said he’s struggling to make a 3 on the 3rd hole. Jones responded, “You’re not supposed to make a 3.”

Guys will hit all sorts of clubs off the tee here, from irons to drivers.

Hole 4, 240 yards

The Masters - Round One

BRUTAL par 3. The best part? It’s been brutally long forever. Phil made a sloppy triple here while in the final group in 2012.

Hole 5, 455 yards

The Masters - Final Round

The 5th was inspired by the famous Road Hole at St. Andrews. Bobby Jones originally disapproved of the bunkers, but they’re definitely there now. They’re taller than a man and even more impressively huge in person (I know because I’ve been there).

Hole 6, 180 yards

The Masters - Round Two

Elevated tee to an absolutely crazy right to left sloping green.

Hole 7, 450 yards

Masters Tournament Final Round

Tough tee shot, elevated green surrounded by a million bunkers. Helps to have this shot.

Hole 8, 570 yards

The Masters - Round Two

Much different par 5 from the course’s other 3. The 8th starts with a tee shot that just needs to avoid the right bunker, then a MASSIVELY uphill, dogleg left approach to a green surrounded by huge mounds. Awesome 5-par.

Took this picture of the green and its huge mounds yesterday.


Hole 9, 460 yards

The Masters - Final Round

Another right to left hole and very downhill. Then you go back uphill for the approach to a multi-tiered, false-fronted green guarded on the left by two bunkers.

Here’s a good look at it.

Hole 10, 495 yards

Masters Preview - Day 1

I’ve written before that this hole’s more like a black diamond ski slope than a golf hole and I’ve been right every time. It’s a CRAZY steep slope and which requires some right-to-left play (there’s a reason we say lefties have the advantage here; fading it is easier and more controllable than drawing it).

Rory’s collapse started with a triple here, but Adam Scott’s Masters was won here.

As was Bubba’s.

A lot can happen.

Hole 11

The Masters - Preview Day 3

One of the tougher holes in the world. 11 is long, tricky, has water left, crazy slopes right, and a SLIPPERY, dicey green.

Dicey unless you’re Larry Mize.

Hole 12

The Masters - Round Two

Golden Bell. It’s like 150 but you can make 2 or 7 (RIP Spieth). The wind swirls. It’s beautiful but pivotal. Probably the most famous par 3 in the world. Bobby Jones said, and I’m paraphrasing, “It’s not that it’s impossible, it’s just that it requires more skill than I currently possess.”

Hole 13, 510 yards

The Masters - Round Three

A lot of folks believe 13 is the best hole on the course and perhaps the best par 5 on earth. At just 510, it’s not long but requires a significant right-to-left tee shot to hit the fairway. From there, you’ve got a long iron in from a STEEP hook lie (for a righty). Guys are basically taking baseball swings at it.

Unless you’re in the pine straw between some trees. Then you just do this.

Hole 14, 440 yards

The Masters - Round Two

The only hole out here without a bunker. 14 is a pretty straightforward par 4 with a dynamic green. Mr. Player said one of his playing partners on Sunday made a 14 on 14, and was just over the green in two.

Hole 15, 530 yards

The Masters - Round Two

The final par 5. 15 can produce all kinds of results. From this.

To this.

Hole 16, 170 yards

Water left. Severe ridge running through the middle of the green. It always plays a dramatic role on Sunday, but never more so than 2005.

Hole 17, 440 yards

The Masters - Round One

The 17th was for what feels like ever known for the Eisenhower Tree (named because Ike hit it so many times he lobbied to have it removed), but that sucker passed in 2014 after suffering irreparable damage in an ice storm a few months before the Masters.


Jack’s most emphatic “Yes sir!” came here in ’86.

Hole 18, 465 yards

The Masters - Round Three

That chute tho. I mean, it’s the 18th at Augusta. Pick any one of dozens and dozens of ICONIC moments here. I’ve included four.

It’s the 18th at Augusta.


The Masters - Preview Day 3



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The Field

Just 87 guys in the field this year. But it’s the Masters — everybody’s here, except for Brooks Koepka who’s injured.


Winning Score

The weather looks great save for Saturday. That Saturday weather could go one of two ways for the golf course — could make it windy, rainy and difficult, or could simply have play suspended only to resume with a softer course.

Last year I predicted 7-under would win it and Sergio and Rose got into the playoff at 9-under. Thursday’s weather was BRUTAL last year, which led to high scores. I think they’ll go lower this year.

Winning score, -11.


There’s a man in the field who’s finished top-10 five of the last 10 times he’s played here. Who somehow didn’t win last year despite having one shoulder already draped by a green jacket.

He’s 15/1 this year, which I like. Not the favorite but not far off either.

Winner, Justin Rose.

The Masters - Final Round

Dark Horse

This dude finished T4 in his first Masters appearance last year, crushes the ball, and played a Tuesday practice round with a combined 8 green jackets. And he’s 75/1 this week!

Dark horse, Thomas Pieters.


Steven Bowditch Memorial DFL Award

I like Ian Woosman a lot, but I saw him grinding his way up the first fairway yesterday and there’s just no way the 1991 Masters champ avoids DFL this week.

DFL, Woosie.

Bonus Pick

This guy also will win.




Wednesday: 3pm ESPN, par 3 contest (plus Masters Live streaming)
Thursday: 3-7:30pm ESPN (plus Masters Live streaming 9:15am-7:30pm)
Friday: 3-7:30pm ESPN (plus Masters Live streaming 9:15am-7:30pm)
Saturday: 3pm on CBS (plus Masters Live streaming most the day)
Sunday: 2pm on CBS (plus Masters Live streaming most the day)

Final Thoughts

It’s finally Masters Week. The tournament starts in less than 24 hours. We made it.

Enjoy Augusta.