As the world’s top golfers polish their clubs and iron their plus fours in preparation for the first major of the season, we take a look at the facts and figures that really matter with our by-numbers guide to the Masters.
7,435 – That’s how far, in yards, the players have to hit the ball to complete a round at Augusta. Not in one shot, obviously, but if they can do it in 72 or under four times on the bounce they should be in contention come Sunday afternoon. Tiger Woods managed it in a total of just 270 in 1997 at the tender age of 21. That’s 18 under par and the lowest winning score ever.
5 – The British are coming! The British are coming! Whether they actually do anything once they arrive is another matter. But this year hopes are higher than a lofted wedge to the green, with the world’s top 10 full of men such as Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood boasting a UK passport. To date, only five tournaments have ended with the famous green jacket resting on the shoulders of a UK national – Nick Faldo has won it three times, Sandy Lyle and Ian Woosnam once each.
80 – Leading from the front at Augusta isn’t easy. Any chink in a player’s ability to withstand pressure widens into a chasm as the chasing pack starts hitting birdies and the galleries’ roars roll across the course as if golfing Armageddon is approaching. Suddenly leading such a prestigious competition, glory within grasp, is a lonely place. Just ask Rory McIlroy, who topped the leaderboard after three supreme rounds last year, only to slap the ball all over the shop on day four, scoring 80 and finishing tied 15th.
1789 – That’s the year John Rae died. No more explanation needed, right? Oh, OK, go on then. Rae’s Creek, named after the man who built a mill on it in 1765, is a water hazard that runs through the 11th, 12th and 13th holes. It’s beautiful but deadly. And it’s the 12th hole where the Creek is at its deadliest as seemingly good shots roll off the green into its clear-watered jaws. Greg Norman suffered such a fate in 1996 as his charge to the title fell painfully apart.
6 – Jack Nicklaus, he could play a bit. Nobody has tamed the lushest fairways in the land like him, nobody has navigated the greens’ undulations like him and nobody has won the tournament as many times as him – six. He also has the most top-five finishes to his name, 15, the most top 10 finishes, 22, and the most top 25 finishes, 29. Beat that.
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