The Masters – Fantasy Golfanac

Course Details

Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia
7,475 yards – Par 72 – Bentgrass Greens
Fairways and Second Cut: Bermudagrass overseeded with perennial ryegrass
Architect: Alister MacKenzie (1933)

Tournament Stimpmeter: 13+ feet … FAST Green Speeds
Green Sizes: 6,435 sq. feet … Average Green Sizes
Strength of Field Rating: 750+ … Strong Field
Fairways Hit (Field Average): 69% … Easy-to-Hit Fairways
Greens in Regulation (Field Average): 61% … Tough-to-Hit Greens

Average Temperature: 74 Degrees … Average Temps
Average Wind Speed: 12 mph … Windier than average and often swirling/deceptive

Tournament Angles

Bentgrass Greens
Fast Greens
Hard Courses
Driver-Heavy Courses
Easy-to-Hit Fairways
Hard-to-Hit Greens
Strong Field Events
Par 72 Courses
Majors
Windy Rounds
Performance in the Spring

Previous Winners

2018: Patrick Reed -15 over Rickie Fowler -14
2017: Sergio Garcia -9 over Justin Rose in a playoff
2016: Danny Willett -5 over Jordan Spieth, Lee Westwood -2
2015: Jordan Spieth -18 over Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose -14
2014: Bubba Watson -9 over Jonas Blixt, Jordan Spieth -5
2013: Adam Scott -9 over Angel Cabrera in a playoff
2012: Bubba Watson -10 over Louis Oosthuizen in a playoff
2011: Charl Schwartzel -14 over Adam Scott, Jason Day -12
2010: Phil Mickelson -16 over Lee Westwood -13

54-Hole Leaders

2018: Patrick Reed -14
2017: Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose -6
2016: Jordan Spieth -3
2015: Jordan Spieth -16
2014: Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth -5
2013: Angel Cabrera, Brandt Snedeker -7
2012: Peter Hanson -9
2011: Rory McIlroy -12
2010: Lee Westwood -12

36-Hole Leaders

2018: Patrick Reed -9
2017: Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Charley Hoffman, Thomas Pieters -4
2016: Jordan Spieth -4
2015: Jordan Spieth -14
2014: Bubba Watson -7
2013: Jason Day -6
2012: Fred Couples , Jason Dufner -5
2011: Rory McIlroy -10
2010: Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter -8

First-Round Leaders

2018: Jordan Spieth -6
2017: Charley Hoffman -7
2016: Jordan Spieth -6
2015: Jordan Spieth -8
2014: Bill Haas -4
2013: Sergio Garcia, Marc Leishman -6
2012: Lee Westwood -5
2011: Rory McIlroy, Alvaro Quiros -7
2010: Fred Couples -6

Important Interview Quotes

Q. Can you detail how you prepare for the putting challenge on these greens and how does it differ, if at all, from a regular week or another major?
JUSTIN THOMAS:
I mean, the thing about putting is it changes every week. It’s not like this week is, at least for me, I’m not freaking myself out or anything like that. Yeah, the greens are faster and probably have a little bit more slope but I’m still trying to get adjusted to the speed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, just as I would any other tournament week because for me when my speed is good, I’m holing putts.

Definitely, at least I work on my lag putting a decent bit because there’s going to be times maybe you can’t get close to a pin or you get out of position, you have to hit it to the fat of the green and you have 40?, 50?, 60?footers where you need to lag it up there and try to 2?putt. For me, that’s what I’m spending the majority of my time doing, trying to hit putts on different speeds and different lines so that I can get comfortable and accustomed to what I can do once I get out and the tournament’s going. -2019

Q. What do you think suits your game about Augusta National, and what, if anything, doesn’t?
FRANCESCO MOLINARI:
I think it depends on conditions, but it’s a second?shot golf course. Tee shots are important, but not key, probably. Obviously you can play from the rough. I think off the tee, it’s important to miss on the good side. Every hole there’s a side where most of the time you have a shot to the green, even if you are out of position, and then, yeah, second shot, so that should suit my strengths and my game.

I think what let me down in the past obviously then it’s on the greens and around the greens, it’s a very tough test because of the speed of the greens and the undulation. So yeah, I hope to show the progress that I’ve made on the greens and around the greens in the last few months, and get a good performance in this week. -2019

Q. You mentioned taking time off, working out and having tests done at THE PLAYERS. Is there a lingering health issue right now?
BROOKS KOEPKA:
No. No lingering. It’s all quick fixes. Should be back to everything in a couple weeks. Just had a bunch of blood work and trying to figure out what was going on. Kind of?? I mean, the diet I was on was probably not the best. I was like 1,800 calories a day. I mean, you’re not going to be in the best physical shape at that point. You look at somebody like Michael Phelps or somebody like that eating 6,000 or 7,000 calories by lunch time. But I wanted to do it and try to lose some weight, and maybe went about it a little too aggressively for just a long period of time and the intensity of what I was doing. -2019

THE MODERATOR: Speaking of this tournament, you finished the Top?10 in each of the past three appearances at the Masters. What do you feel needs to happen for you to be in contention and make a run on Sunday?
DUSTIN JOHNSON:
Well, this week is no different than any week for me, but I’m going to have to do everything well if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday. I feel like the game is in very good form right now. You know, for me, it’s all going to be up to my putting. If I can putt well this week, these greens?? I like these greens, they have got a lot of slope in them. I like to see the ball breaking; it’s something I really like out here. I’m comfortable on the greens, and I think if I can roll it well, I’ll be right there come Sunday. -2019

Q. How much difference is there in carry needed to get over the bunkers on 5, and what, if any difference strategy will you use this year to previous years?
RORY McILROY:
Yeah, so I think 5 has been a very good change in terms of, you know, it puts driver back in a lot of guys’s hands that wouldn’t necessarily hit driver on that hole.
You know, it’s a little?? in previous years, if you hit driver, you would?? if you hit it up the right side, you would run out of room very quickly, and now it’s?? you know, the longer hitters might still be able to run out into the rough but even if you hit it right you’re not going to run out into those trees and the pine straw. So it encourages guys to hit driver, and you need to hit driver; because I came here last Wednesday, played in the morning, it was a little cold, a little damp and I hit 4?iron into the green, driver, 4?iron.

Yesterday I played, it was a little warmer and I had driver, 7?iron.

If you hit 3?wood and you’re 30 yards back of that, you’re on the upslope and you can hardly see the green. So you have to hit driver, which I think is a good thing.
And they have softened the 5th green, which it’s meant now for 180, 190?yard approach shot, so they have softened a couple parts of that green, which makes it a little easier going in there with a longer club. I’ve always felt like the front nine here plays a shot harder than the back nine, and now it probably plays about a shot and a half harder because of the added length on 5. -2019

Q. You have played well here before. I wonder in your mind how well you think this place suits your game when you’re playing well?
RICKIE FOWLER:
To me it’s perfect. I love this place just because of how much it allows to you use your imagination. You know, I kind of brought up the crazy round where I had two doubles and shot 68 and had 21 putts. Like I can putt well around here. I love putting these greens. Like I said, you have to be able to use your imagination and kind of see how the ball is going to roll and feed, depending on how the greens?? how fast they are running.

But to see different shots and playing from uneven lies, it’s a fun place. I mean, to me, links golf is my favorite style of golf, just because of how much it allows you to use your imagination to hit different shots, and Augusta, without it being links golf, is very similar. You have to?? there’s so many different shots you can play out here, just choosing the one and committing to it.

You can use slopes as much as you want. You don’t have to. There’s so many different ways to play this place. -2019

Q. Your record here, as just alluded to, is so good. What comfort did you get early here and what comfort came late?
JUSTIN ROSE:
I think the comfort came pretty early. I was 22 years old I think in 2003 when I played my first Masters and I was paired with Adam Scott and Charles Howell, two good friends of my out on Tour and I had a tough two-putt on No. 9 to make the cut, I was on the wrong tier and I had to two-putt it.

Because when you come to the Masters or certainly back in the day if felt like, if you make the cut as a first timer, that’s a good result and that’s what happened for me in my first Masters, made the cut and kind of felt like, oh, that was a good positive experience and thoroughly enjoyed it.

And then I think it was 2004, I was leading through two rounds, shot a great first round, backed it up with a good second round and then shot 81 on the third day, which was obviously disappointing but just really taught me a lot about this golf course. Gave me such great valuable experience and insights into how to play it, how not to play it and how it can kind of trick you and bully you a little bit at times.

So a couple of awesome experiences really early, and then from that point on, I’ve just continued to be learning and trying to apply what I’ve learned year-on-year, and you know, in recent years, yeah, I’ve given myself a couple good chances being in that final group on Sunday and playing well on both occasions and came up against Jordan in 2015 who was making everything and Sergio and I, it was a coin flip who was going to come out on top there.

Yeah, just once of those places, guys talk about a course that fits their eye and I think this is one for me that I like all the shots out there. -2019

Q. Curious about your initial impressions of No. 5. And also, given the added degree of difficulty there, how does that little corner of the golf course of 4, 5, 6, compare in difficulty to a more famous one, Amen Corner?
JUSTIN ROSE:
I think 4 and 5 have historically been some of the tougher holes on the golf course, for sure. I think No. 5 is probably going to play the toughest hole now for sure.
For me I always felt like No. 6 on the back end, and even No. 1, if you look at No. 1 being a tough hole; if you can get it through six holes even par, it’s a great start. Even 1?over par through six, it’s a great start.

That’s going to be even more so this year, given the fifth hole changing. I hit 4?iron today and hit a good drive. That makes it much tougher because I feel like now you’re having to maybe think about?? especially, there’s a bit of rain coming possibly but if it did firm up a touch, now you’re thinking about hitting a long iron and kind of running it up a bit more links style up on to that green, where the hole was just short enough before where you were always hitting a mid?iron, 7?iron, 6?iron, and always trying to land it up on the top for the most part.

Only if you were out of position were you having to run it up that ridge. I think the extra length, you might see more links style running shots. That’s how I see the design of it, anyway. Whether the conditions allow that, we’ll see. -2019

Q. You spoke of learning the course. How much of that education involved the greens, and is there ever a point where a player really feels like you have these things figured out?
JUSTIN ROSE:
You never do because things change just suddenly throughout the week. So you can have it dialed in, you feel like, on Thursday, maybe, and then by Sunday, it can be a different golf course. You can never really learn the read on a putt because, you know, if the greens roll a foot quicker on the weekend, the break is double on occasion. You know, certainly if you have a putt that’s two feet of break, it’s now breaking maybe three feet, just with the speed of the greens. So you can never really get completely comfortable, but I think the experience tells you of knowing which putts to respect and maybe where to make a good calculated guess on the break, where to play a little higher and dial it in, so experience really plays a part.
I don’t think you can ever really have it 100 percent figured out. -2019

Q. Following up on that, there are no green reading books issued here as they are at normal tournaments. How does that impact your process on the greens?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU:
Yeah, it obviously changes a lot of what we do. Now I practiced trying to understand what one percent is, what two percent is, based on my eyes, and that’s really all I can do out here is look at the slope and you know, walk over and try and find the low point and do my own process that allows me to understand where straight relatively is, and then I gauge based on how far I am, how high the hole is relative to my perception and that kind of gives me a gauge of how much slope there is in that area. Is it as precise as the greens books? Absolutely not. We still have to feel and sense with our eyes what it’s going to do.

That’s really all I can do and I have to practice a lot more hitting breaking putts, because I can’t just bring out my compass and go, oh, it’s 3 percent and here it is. I have to look at and walk around and go, okay, I’m acclimated to 3 percent. -2019

Q. How does the extension of the fifth hole change for you in terms of your approach to it, shot shape, just your whole attack plan?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU:
So I’ll tell you the shot shape is going to be the same for me. I try and hit the same shot pretty much on any hole except some holes where it’s a massive dog leg right. That’s the only time I’ll change it.

But there are times you’ll have a 6?iron, 5?iron in. A lot of guys were hitting hybrids yesterday and I’m pretty impressed with that; it was a little into the wind.

It’s difficult. It’s going to be a very difficult hole. I like that they shallowed out the green a little bit, flattened it a little bit and created a couple more accessible pins. I think it’s a great move, moving it away from the fourth green, the tee box away from the fourth green, that’s going to speed up play. Overall I think it’s a great design change. -2019

Q. Obviously after you brought Augusta National down to its knees they decided to lengthen the fifth hole [40 or 50 yards]. Can you just talk about that lengthening and how much that’s going to change the golf course for you?
PATRICK REED:
So I’ve always played that hole really aggressively. I mean, I just start it at the right trees and draw it down the fairway basically to get even with or just past most of the bunker. So I think dropping the tee box back, the only thing it’s going to do for myself, especially if it’s 40 or 50 yards, I’m just going to be able to hit drivers and it’s not going to get to the bunkers, so it’s just going to make the iron shot into the green longer. That being said, it’s just going to take a premium on hitting a really solid and quality iron shot because that hole already has been — even if you’re in the fairway with 9-iron, it’s a tough iron shot and it’s hard to get close because there’s so many ridges in that green. Now going in with a 7- or 6-iron, guys are actually going to have to utilize that front slope and try to bounce it up or hit into that slope.

I think it’ll actually probably make it a little easier off the tee for guys like myself or guys that are even a little shorter than me because you’re not going to get to the traps on the left. -2019

Q. With Augusta so close, three weeks away, how do you feel about that tournament coming up?
BRYSON DECHAMBEAU:
I’m excited. I can’t wait, honestly. It’s a golf course that suits my game really well and I’m excited to get back there to see how I can do now as a professional at a different level. -2018 at Bay Hill

Q. It’s too early to ask, I guess, but you won the last Major of 2017. What would you say the chances will be to win the first Major this season to make back-to-back Major wins?
JUSTIN THOMAS:
I get more excited to go play Augusta than I do any place. It’s a place that I do feel like I’ll win at some point in my career hopefully at least once. But you don’t know. You don’t know if and when it will ever happen. But I do. I love the place. It’s just a matter of playing it better than I have the last few years. -2018 at Sony Open

Q. I wanted to ask you, mainly, how does Augusta test you differently than the other Majors?
BUBBA WATSON:
We don’t have that much time. The lies in the fairway, you got all kind of different angles and slopes and things, so the lies above your feet, below your feet, uphill, downhill, rumor is they cut the grass towards us, so it’s into the grain when you hit, so the quality of iron shots, you got to be pinpoint or you’re going to look pretty bad on the iron shots because it’s hard to get a crisp hit on it. The undulations of the greens. -2018

Q. You were talking about the course not favoring any one type of player. You listed all those winners, Seve, Tiger, Phil. When you come to this course, do you have to change any aspects of your game because you know it doesn’t favor certain players?
JON RAHM:
No, not really. I don’t try to change anything. Those players every winner plays differently, but I feel like most of them have two things in common the week to win. No. 1, really good short game. I feel like you can’t win a tournament here if you don’t have good short game. That’s just not going to happen. Unless you don’t miss any greens. And the second one is some crazy good imagination. I mean, you need to have some good imagination. I feel like every player that I named every player the last few years, all of them are known to be an extremely creative player. Especially the ones that win here multiple times. Which that exactly complements the short game. It’s going to help out. Because each shot, you can have so many ways to hit it. There’s no perfect way.

That’s one of the things Phil was trying to tell me last year. It’s like you don’t need to play perfect to win at Augusta National just because there’s so many ways to do it, there’s not only one way. You just need to find the way that’s maybe best for you at the moment. -2018

Q. Curious, the feeling of coming back here as the fourth best scoring average in the history of this tournament, but no jacket. Does that tell you something about how difficult it is to just win this thing and separate from that? What is it that you need to tweak to get to that next level do you think?
RORY MCILROY:
Yeah, I didn’t know that that was my scoring average, but, yeah, I play well here, I just haven’t played well enough. That one year back in 2011 where I had a great chance and I didn’t finish it off, but I’ve played well since then. I love the golf course, I enjoy playing the golf course. Maybe I’ve got off to a couple of slow starts over the past few years, and I played my last 45 holes in 2015 in 15?under par. So it was just that slow start that held me back there, and if I get off to a bit of a better start, then maybe I’ll be right there in contention.

But it’s nice to know that I played the golf course just about as well as anyone, and hopefully this is my week and I can get myself in there and grab it with both hands. -2018

Q. Do you practice any particular part of your game in anticipation for the unique challenges here?
DUSTIN JOHNSON:
I mean, probably spend a little bit more time chipping and putting and stuff from off the greens around here than most weeks at normal tournaments. That’s probably about it. As far as throughout my bag with shots, I don’t really don’t change anything or try to do anything different because I’m at Augusta. Just spend a lot more time around the greens chipping and putting. -2018

Q. What about the golf course has kind of made an impression on you? What stands out?
XANDER SCHAUFFELE:
I know the greens were slopey, but there’s so much, they’re slopier than I imagined, I guess Alister MacKenzie designed Pasatiempo, and there’s putts and chips there that get away from you, so I knew they were slopey. -2018

Q. Conditions, I know you prefer fast and firm, like you were talking about before. Did you get some of that today?
KYLE STANLEY:
Yeah, not much wind. But, yeah, the greens were pretty firm, fairways were pretty average, but, yeah, the greens are, I mean, yeah, firm. -2018

Q. You’ve had some fast starts here in the past. Just wondering how important that is to you from the standpoint of maybe taking pressure off you moving forward, or does it not matter to you?
JORDAN SPIETH:
I think this golf course is a lot easier to play if you feel like you can just hit the center of the greens and move from there and wait for your chances. It’s easy to say that. You kind of want to take that approach starting out, but if you start well, it’s easier to stick to that game plan.
I shot two rounds in the 70s and tied a scoring record here one year. It just shows that on the weekend, it backs you up. -2018

Q. Is there a learning curve on this golf course that maybe you don’t experience on other golf courses?
PATRICK REED:
Oh, for sure. A lot of the other places we play, if you hit it to six feet or eight feet, whether it’s above the hole or below the hole, it’s not that big of a deal. But here you hit it, even if you hit it six feet above the hole, a lot of those, if you don’t see such a high line and just tap it, it misses the hole, you have eight feet coming back. And we don’t have that at other places we play. So it truly is a course knowledge golf course. You need to know where to put the ball on certain pins and if you miss you need to miss it in certain spots because there’s some areas around here that it’s literally impossible, unless you make a 15?, 18?footer.
-2018

Q. And you, this is your fifth start here, do you feel comfortable on the course now, you had a good finish in 2015, is this a course that you feel like you can win on?
PATRICK REED:
Yeah, it’s definitely a course I feel I can win on. Off the tees and some of the iron shots it definitely seemed to fit my eye pretty well and that’s key around here, just to get really comfortable on the shot you’re trying to hit, because just one little mishap will definitely get you in the wrong spot, you can make a big number around here. And I was able to avoid that today and just really got the putter kind of going today, whenever you can get that going, it definitely makes these fairways and greens look a lot bigger than they are. -2018

Q. The greens were really firm today, obviously, but you handled them very well. Comment on that?
RORY McILROY:
Yeah, it was a much different golf course today than what we’ve seen in practice. And the SubAir must have been running nearly all night last night. That’s Augusta. That’s what we sign up to whenever we come here. You know it’s going to be firm and fast. And even talking to Harry out there, we played 54 holes Wednesday, Thursday last week, so just a week ago. And he said this place is at least five or six shots tougher today than it was when we played. And five shots, anyway. Five shots when we played Thursday last week. It’s amazing what they can do in the space of a week here. And there’s no rain forecast for tomorrow, so it will be one where you need to control your distance and be very aware on the greens. -2018, R1

Q. Is there a reason why you feel comfortable on this golf course?
ADAM HADWIN:
Well I think it just suits my eye. I love working the ball both ways, it’s something that I work on and practice on the range a lot and so it really doesn’t matter the hole, I feel like I can hit the shot that’s required. And then some of the, some of those recovery shots as well. Growing up in BC, tree lined golf courses, I’m used to kind of hitting the punch hooks and cuts when you need to. So I don’t know what it is, but obviously a very special golf course and I feel at home here. -2018

Q. Obviously we all want to know what happened on 15.
SERGIO GARCIA:
I don’t know. I don’t know what to tell you. It’s one of those things. I don’t know, it’s the first time in my career where I make a 13 without missing a shot. Simple as that. I felt like I hit a lot of good shots and unfortunately the ball just didn’t want to stop. I don’t know, you know, it’s one of those things. So it’s just unfortunate, but that’s what it is. -2018

Q. How do you feel the course played?
DYLAN FRITTELLI:
It played fair. I think that’s a good way to describe it. It wasn’t too difficult, the pins are fair, it was pretty benign conditions with the wind. I guess if they knew the forecast was going to be this good they probably would have set it up a little tougher, I think some guys out there may go, 5?, 6?under today. But no, it was a good test. I really enjoyed it. Totally different to the practice rounds. Obviously it firms up a lot and the fairways became quicker and greens are definitely traveling a foot or two faster than they were yesterday. -2018, R1

Q. Can you tell us sort of how you maybe had to compensate for that ankle today, and are you surprised that you were able to play as well as you did, if you were having to do that? And then maybe in some ways, was it a bit of a blessing, take your mind off the fact that this is your first Masters and you had something else to worry about?
TONY FINAU:
Yeah, I think that’s a good way to put it, maybe masks a little bit of the pressure because I had to worry about my foot.

I had to compensate a little bit because hitting some shots, I knew I couldn’t put the full weight I wanted to on the foot. My coach and I, just to come up with a plan just to say, hey, the one thing we can’t do is hurt it more. So the No. 1 thing for me was my health, and trying to take care of the next few days and not just worry about the now. So it definitely hurt at different points of the round.

But, you know, I guess your other question, if I’m surprised. Honestly, I’m not really surprised. I like the golf course, and my foot started to feel better the more I played. And, you know, I feel like my story’s quite crazy, and I’m sure most of you guys know it by now.

But I feel like my back’s been up against the wall my whole life, so something like this is just another part of the story, I guess. But, you know, to sit up here and say I’m surprised? Not really. -2018

Q. How close were you to having to withdraw? What would have been the break point this morning to force to you withdraw?
TONY FINAU:
The MRI test, if I was going to do further damage by playing, and the doctors recommended that, look, I know you want to play this week, but you’re going to do some damage and there could be some further damage where you’re going to have to take more time off, then that would have happened and I probably would have withdrawn because of that. But, you know, when the MRI test came back and they told me, look, a couple torn ligaments but nothing major, you have pretty much a high ankle sprain, then I knew I could still play. -2018

Q. You’ve had the bomber label for a long time. You’ve got to be more than a bomber here. What parts of your game do you think have improved over the last few years that can make you a contender here?
TONY FINAU:
Yeah, chipping and putting is extremely important here because you’re not always going to be on the right levels where they put these pins, so you’re going to have to have touch and hole some of those par putts that are just crucial in a round.
I was able to do that today. I don’t mind being labeled as a bomber. It’s a good thing to be known and have a strong part of your game, and length helps me everywhere I play, especially here at Augusta. But you have to have touch and you have to have good putting skills, and I feel like those are things that I’ve been able to sharpen throughout my career and feel good about those things this week. -2018

Q. You talk about accessible pins though and you have to be conservative probably within reason at this place, how many accessible pins were there today?
JASON DAY:
Well all the par 5s are gettable, so you got four birdies there, if you can get good drives away. Then there’s a couple mixed in there. So if you can get — there’s probably anywhere between six and eight chances of making actual birdies and then the rest you are just trying to play a little bit more conservative. And the front side is, I think, a little bit tougher than the back and just got off to the wrong start today. -2018

Q. Is this the most disappointing?
GARY WOODLAND:
I missed the cut the last couple of years by a shot or two. I’ve actually had chances. This year I didn’t really have a chance, the start I had yesterday. So it’s frustrating the. Knowing that I was playing well and knowing that my game is suitable to this place now, that’s very frustrating. But it is what it is, it’s a long year. And like I said, I’m looking forward to two weeks off. -2018

PATRICK REED: You know, I think the biggest highlight was kind of getting off to the start I did. Hitting 3-wood off the first, and yeah, it’s a hole I’ve always loved to hit driver, want to hit driver on the hole, but I’ve always gotten myself in trouble for it. My wife always tells me it’s a 3-wood, hit 3-wood. Finally I’ve listened to her. I’ve hit 3-wood both days, just played down the middle of the fairway, and that front left flag, it’s such a hard flag to get close to. You know, I was able to kind of hit wedge just to the right of it and probably about 15, 18 feet. -2018

Q. Of all the courses you play each year, where does Augusta rank in terms of how well it suits your game and your imagination?
JON RAHM:
Close to No. 1 to be honest. I try to describe myself as a creative player. I think I’m pretty imaginative, although, since luckily for me, I don’t miss many fairways. I don’t have to use it very often, right. But I do believe I’m a creative player just because I grew up on a place, tree?lined with tough greens and I know how to use that, so I know how to get out of trouble.

So a place like this is perfect for someone like me. And then, anyways, it’s one of those places that as soon as you come here, just my eye, it suits my eye perfectly. I think out of those 18 holes, 17 suit my eye perfectly and the one that doesn’t is 7, and I don’t think it suits anybody’s eye because it’s so difficult.

The atmosphere you get around here is so positive, is so great. You know, it makes me trust every part of my game fully, especially around the greens. I love greens that are as sloped as those are because there’s no straight putts and there’s no easy break. You have to let your feel and your gut tell you what’s going to happen, and that’s when I putt my best, when I can use my imagination and use the slopes, I feel more comfortable doing that. -2018

Q. How would you have felt after the first two days how you played, and also the fact that your game seems fairly suited here because of the high draws, is that kind of the mind?set you took in?
TOMMY FLEETWOOD:
As a golf course, it fits my eye and I feel comfortable on most shots. But then you have Augusta where you have to spend so much time learning sort of different parts of the golf course and where it can catch you out and how the greens play and how certain approach shots play, which takes time.

Generally people don’t win on their first or second attempt. I know it has happened recently with Danny and Jordan, but it doesn’t happen that much. As much as it suits my eye, and hopefully I’ll have many more times where I’ll play the tournament, there’s so much to learn on the golf course. -2018

Q. How much would you like to see a calm day finally at this place?
KEVIN KISNER:
I was telling my caddie, I said, hopefully we get it next year and we can play a normal Masters one time. -2017

Q. Can you talk about your comfort factor here and why you’ve seem to play so well on this course?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN:
Just when I step on the property, I feel good. I’m a very visual person; visually, it fits my eye. The greens, I don’t know why it is, I like to see putts that break. Just it feels good when I’m on the greens and on the tees and hitting shots into the green. I don’t know if it just makes me focus a little bit more out here, but I definitely feel comfortable on this property. -2017

Q. The Top-10s the last two years, how much of that is based on just playing well at the time and how much is based on increased course knowledge, and what are the most important things you’ve learned in the seven years you’ve been coming here now?
HIDEKI MATSUYAMA:
Last two years, I didn’t hit it that well but I was able to get it in the hole. Every year I play the course, you learn a little more, especially where not to hit it. That’s been one of the keys, playing five times before, that I’ve been able to learn and to understand.

And so to answer your question, I guess course management is what’s really helped me. Even though I’m not hitting it well, I can still hit it around okay. -2017

Q. Given everything you’ve gone through and dealt with off the course, do you feel prepared for this week, or is it in some way made it easier?
JASON DAY:
I’m a little bit unprepared, to be honest. Usually I have a week or two more weeks of tournaments under my belt, maybe a week or two more weeks of practice, as well, and I didn’t pick up a club from Match Play till when I got here Friday. Because obviously I was busy with my mom and busy with my family and all that stuff and not really thinking about playing golf. -2017

Q. Dustin, following up on Doug’s question, this has long been thought to be a right-to-left golf course. Last year going to the fade, how many times did you try to hit a draw and are there some holes where you definitely will try to still work it right-to-left?
DUSTIN JOHNSON:
Not with the driver, I won’t. If I need a draw, I’ll just hit a 3-wood.

No. 10 is really the only hole where I need to turn it over. Other than that, I feel like my fade works just fine on every hole. -2017

Q. Since Fuzzy won the first time, no one else has been able to do it. The question is, now Jon Rahm, taking a look at someone like that who is clearly a talent, do you think it might be easier, actually, for a first-timer to win here than it would have been in the past?
PHIL MICKELSON:
Unequivocally it’s much easier for a first-timer to win here because the greens have been so much more receptive the last seven, eight, ten years since the course has been lengthened and the greens aren’t the only defense. What that allows you to do is miss it in a spot that normally would be bad but get away with it because the greens are more receptive. I think that that allows players who have not played heres many times, who maybe put it in the wrong spots, but are able to recover because the greens will receive shots that they didn’t use to receive. -2017

Q. You talked about playing with Jordan in the final group in 2015. What did you see about why this course fits him so well? It’s a very strong leaderboard, but just thoughts on him being a couple shots back after all his success here over the years?
JUSTIN ROSE:
Sure, yeah. It’s a second-shot golf course, and he’s a good iron player. He’s very sharp with that. He’s got a great golfing brain. This is a very strategic golf course and you have to make good, smart decisions out there. It tempts you at times. It can dangle the carrot. You need to be on top of your thinking and he’s very good at that and his putting speaks for itself.

These greens obviously require imagination. They break a lot. So to see the lines it key. But when you pick your line and pick it well, they go in. So it rewards good putting. -2017

Q. I’m just curious, what is it about Augusta, Jordan, that appeals to you, that suits your eye and that allows you to elevate your game in such a way?
JORDAN SPIETH:
Well, I like the golf course specifically. I like the elevation changes, the sidehill lies, the pull to Rae’s Creek, the way it affects putts. It’s imaginative golf. It’s feel golf and I really enjoy that; when I can go away from technicality and towards feel, it’s an advantage for me personally, compared to how I play other places.

I really love the tournament. It’s pure golf. When we get to the driving range, it’s just us. It’s myself, my caddie, my coach. No offense; there’s nobody else on the range, and that’s actually kind of nice for a change to be able to feel likeyou’re not pulled in any direction. You can just get out there and get done what you want to get done.

And then obviously, just the feel, the crowds, leading into the tournament is second to none. I really like that and am able to feed off that. Rounds like today, just played the back nine, and just had a great time out there. It was just a lot of fun. You don’t come away from a lot of Tuesdays saying that. It was just a neat experience in itself. -2017

Q. Is there any specifics in your mind as to why this has been your hardest major?
HENRIK STENSON:
Yeah, but I’m not going to bore you with all those thoughts. I’ve had a lot of times to think about it and analyze it. But, no, I think there’s a few things that I hope to be able to be a little bit more aggressive off the tee on a couple of the holes this year. I’m not normally someone who shapes the ball a lot and on a couple of the holes, it really makes a difference if you can try and get it a bit farther down there.

And to take an example, 13, for instance. If I could get another 20 off the tee and try and get around the corner a little bit more on that one, that would be lovely. It’s certainly a more inviting second shot into that par 5 with a 6-iron than a 4-iron off that side slope.

There’s a few little bits and pieces. Putting, having the opportunity to putt on quick greens with a lot of undulations beforehand, and the boys did a good job for me down at Lake Nona and speeded up the greens about a week, ten days ago. We’ve put a little bit extra practice in on that. -2017

Q. Your Masters record probably isn’t as good as it should be for a player of your ability. Do you know what I mean?
HENRIK STENSON:
It’s definitely more than one (laughter). I don’t think we have time to go through them all. I keep on coming back. I keep on trying, so I’m heading into my I think my 12th straight Masters appearance. And I’m willing to agree with you, T-14 is not what I’m looking for. I think there’s a number of things, some of them I try to address and do better in my preparation. And obviously we’ll see in about ten days time how it works out. -2017 Houston

To give you a few, maybe on playing style. As you know, I normally hit a lot of fairways. I don’t think you get as much out of that at Augusta because the rough is so low and the fairways are kind of wide. Accuracy off the tee might not be the No. 1 key, moreso to get length on quite a few of the holes. So we’re trying to get the driver in play on a couple of the holes where we maybe played a bit too conservative in the past. -2017 Houston

Q: How do you think the course sets up for your game?
Jon Rahm:
For the most part, almost every hole suits me pretty well besides, maybe, 13 and 14 because you need to hit a draw—I don’t usually hit draws off the tee. Besides those two, all the other holes showed that hitting it long off the tee is going to make it a lot easier to hit my second shot. So if I can take advantage of using my driver, I will. -2017, TaylorMadeGolf.com

Q. How much do you use past knowledge on this course?
LEE WESTWOOD:
I think it helps even more when the conditions are testy and you can start pitching it in the wrong place regularly and just not be able to keep the round going, keep any momentum going. So it’s important to have course knowledge when it’s as tough as it is today. -2016

Q. You have a great track record of playing at Amen Corner. What’s been the key for you over the years playing that so well?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:
I think not really going at the pins, just trying to put myself somewhere on the bottom of the green where I feel like I can 2-putt to any pin and not really being too aggressive. -2016

Q. Was there one time in particular the wind really fooled you?
LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN:
There was a few times. There was a few. You know, I think downwind is the ones that get you, because you try and get it up in the air and it sort of knuckles it down sometimes. Other times it flies forever and you’re going down wind into a firm green, it’s tough. -2016

Q. You said you liked the kind of undulated, heavily breaking greens like these ones. What appeals to you about those type of greens?
SMYLIE KAUFMAN:
Just what I grew up on. I grew up on bentgreens, undulated. That’s one thing my coach at college always said: Put me on greens that are bent, fast, undulated, I’m going to play really well. This place fits my eye pretty well. I just enjoy playing, coming out every day. It’s Augusta National, it’s hard not to have some fun out there. -2016

Q. Is this one of toughest days you’ve played in the Masters, condition-wise?
BILL HAAS:
Yeah, I’ve only played a handful of Masters, but I asked Larry, have you seen it here in your 30 years, I think it’s his 29th or something, maybe 29th since he won his first, I asked him if he’s seen three days like this. And he said, no, there’s been years where there’s been one day like this, but never three in a row blowing this direction. And usually it’s warmer. And if it does blow it’s usually out of the south. And 18 is more down out of the right as opposed to in and out of the left. So playing very difficult. -2016, R3

Q. How much was it affecting the greens with the wind?
MATT KUCHAR:
These greens, as fast as they are, and some of the pin placements, every three footer is a real challenge. It can get away from you and you could end up with ten feet coming back.

So it’s a nerve-wracking proposition, and I’m certainly glad to be done even par and now I can put my feet up and watch it. -2016

Q. How much did the conditions play into it the weather?
RORY MCILROY:
A lot. It’s hard to pick a club. It’s hard to trust what you have in your hand. And then you’re reading putts and you’re trying to determine how much the wind is going to be a factor and how much it’s not going to be a factor. Then, if have you a little lull in wind, or the wind starts to pick up, you saw us backing off a lot of shots today and there’s a reason for that. It was very difficult out there and very difficult to trust what you were doing.

So, tomorrow I just need to go out with a mindset I’m going to commit to everything, I’m going to basically go at every pin that I can and see how low I can go. -2016

Q. What’s the biggest thing you’ll take from this week, the biggest thing you’ll learn from or enjoy?
ROMAIN LANGASQUE:
It’s amazing, I learned a lot yesterday because the course was really tough and like 4 or 5-under was a good score and I think I was maybe just too much, too much 1-over or even par so just learn a lot, I see Bernhard Langer is now close to the lead and I learned from him and I hit the ball 14 meters longer than him, but you just have to be patient on a big course like this one, just to do your best every shot and you have to have a good strategy and to play your golf. -2016

Q. Do people wonder as a smaller guy how you still hit it so far?
MATTHEW FITZPATRICK:
I guess. I don’t feel like I do hit it that far. But what was really funny was someone came over to me on the range the other day, and was sort of joking around really because a lot of guys are saying I don’t know if he hits it long enough to compete. And yeah, I was leading the greens in reg after the first two rounds. He was laughing at that, and he was pretty supportive. -2016

Q. Did the illness earlier in the week have any affect on preparation or anything that you can speak of?
BUBBA WATSON:
The illness is a sinus infection and allergies and, yes, I’m still dealing with it right now. It affected me, but if I was in perfect health, I probably still could have missed the cut. I can’t predict what I would have done if I would have been a hundred percent, that’s neither here nor there. It just shows that I need to improve, I need to get better on windy conditions around this golf course. Little shots here and there hurt you in a big way, and that’s what I did over the last two days. -2016

Q. What is it about Spieth, it’s a tough course, but he plays so well here?
BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU:
He loves the greens. We were walking up 18, I don’t know what it is about this place, I just love putting here. I can see the break, I can see the lines. That’s what he said. I was quite impressed with that. Again, it was fun to play with him and to see how he performs and reacts after certain putts. It’s a good experience. I’m still an amateur, I’ve still got hopefully a few more years in me, but we’ll see. -2016

Q. I asked you this the other day, but can you elaborate on why you like this golf course so much and it suits your game, it seems like?
PAUL CASEY:
I mean, certainly suits my game. I think the fact I’ve got a high, traditionally a high ball flight; the ability to hit the driver a little bit right-to-left. I’ve always felt I’m a good lag putter, whether the stats show it or not, I’ve always felt comfortable on really fast greens. -2016

Q. If this was an Open course or a U.S. Open course and you had this kind of wind day-in and day-out, the fairways would dry and the ball would get away from you off the tee and run out, is this course lush enough that that’s not the circumstance?
JUSTIN ROSE:
Yeah, I think that the fairways remain lush here, they play lush in a sense because of the way they mow. The mowing pattern is into you, so they never play too fast off the tee. But it’s the greens that become firm.

And I think obviously has Augusta has ways and means of firming up the greens, as well, overnight, through SubAir and what have you. But the wind is going to do a very good job of drying out the course, too. Because of that, you still get the course playing somewhat long, but you have firm, fast greens in which to hit to, so it’s quite a tough combo. -2016

Q. Of all the golf courses you play on the PGA TOUR, where do you think Augusta National ranks in terms of how it sets up for your game?
BUBBA WATSON:
Well, it’s the only course I’ve won twice at, so it’s pretty good, and it’s a good one to win twice at.

The condition of the course is better than any course we play all year. So you’re going to have great fairways, great greens, so you have the chance to score. You have the chance to play at a high level.

Most of the holes, I got lucky with 11 the last two years with the ice storms, some of the tops of the trees are missing. So that shot is a little bit easier for me now off the tee, if there is such a thing on a 500-yard par 4. But it’s a little bit easier.

So now, it’s 7, 1 and 18 are the holes that I look at that are difficult for me off the tee. When you think about all of the other holes look good to my eye, set up well for me, the trees outline the fairway pretty good, so it’s easy for me to envision the shot I want to hit.

If you add it up, yes, Augusta sets up pretty nicely for me. And like I said, if I never win again, it’s a good place to win twice. -2015

Q. Left-handers have had a lot of success here?
BUBBA WATSON:
Right-handers have had a lot of success here, too.

I think for me, and I think Phil, Phil’s tried to hit cuts off of tees; Mike Weir has hit a few cuts. For us, it sets up good for a cut, and that’s what you need around here, or a draw for a right-hander. For us, it sets up good for the shot shape we’re trying to hit.

And it’s golf, so it goes in cycles who wins or doesn’t. For some reason, lefties have won recently and hopefully it keeps going with me and not the other lefties. It’s one of those things. For years, there wasn’t that many lefties on Tour, and now with equipment, there’s more lefties and now there’s more chances for us to win the Masters a few more times. -2015

BUBBA WATSON: But you go to Augusta, everybody hits a lot of drivers.

I like Augusta because it’s Augusta. You can hit drivers and it’s a bigger golf course. At the same time there’s not a lot of rough. There’s thick trees but not a lot of branches. So with Phil’s imagination or Tiger’s imagination, Jack’s imagination, the greats of the game can all use their imagination to figure out how to get around this pine tree and onto the green. It gives you a chance to do that. Augusta is a very difficult course and some day I’m going to be bad at it, but right now it helps me when that driver is working pretty good. Give you a chance to hammer it and use you imagination. -2015

Q. You talk about your affinity for this course and length and everything, does it seem like a place you would have a better than average chance to win a first major?
DUSTIN JOHNSON:
Yeah, I’ve contended in all the other ones, just not here. To me, yeah, this one sets up the best for me. -2015

Q. Is there any particular hole that worries you more than average here?
DUSTIN JOHNSON:
You’d think 9 would be perfect because I like to draw it, but for some reason, I hit it in the right trees every time on that hole. 7, 9 and 17 are holes where I think if I can score pretty good on those, I’ll feel really comfortable on the rest of them. -2015

Q. You were talking about executing the game plan. How does the game plan change over the years as you gain experience here and as the golf course changes?
JUSTIN ROSE:
Yeah, you always learn something new. You always pick up a little bit of information or a different line or a putt or a bunker that’s actually a pretty good spot to miss in that you didn’t realize before because you can use the backboard down to a certain pin location.

I think the thing about Augusta is a bunker can be terrible to one pin and great to another pin. So you need to really know, depending on where the pin location is, suddenly where the strategy is for that particular pin. So that’s why it takes a bit of time to get used to it.

You don’t see all the pins in practice, and it’s not like they have four pins. There’s about probably ten pins per green that they can use and they are all subtly different. That’s really the art of playing here quite a few times. Like you say, ten times; I’ve played here enough now to sort of have made good notes over the years. -2015

Q. Wishing for a firm, fast Masters?
GRAEME McDOWELL:
Yeah, I think it has to be firm and fast for me to have a chance to compete. I don’t feel like it’s been like that the last three or four years since this golf course has got longer.

It’s probably set up worse and worse for a guy like me. I need a little release in these fairways and I need the greens to be probably fairly punishing for guys. They are still a tad receptive today. I look for them to be firm and fast tomorrow. -2014

Q. There’s a sort of expectation that the course would be quite soft after all of that rain earlier in the week, but people seem to be suggesting that it’s as slick as every on the greens.
IAN POULTER:
I think that the course was receptive, I got to be honest. It was fairly soft, but obviously the greens run very, very fast on this golf course.
Some of the pin locations today were very hard to keep it under the hole, so you find yourself on key holes around this golf course where you’re putting downhill. When you do that, it’s very easy to get out of position, it’s easy to roll it five feet past, and you’ll see guys 3?putting and getting themselves slightly out of position. -2014

Q. Do you feel like you can still win here?
FRED COUPLES:
Well, yes. I’m happy with what I shot, the last few years have been very good, and I really played well today. Can a 50-year-old win here? I think so. I’m one of them. I mean, Sandy Lyle was up on the board, Bernhard Langer and I both last year played really, really well.
It’s hard. I will say that. It’s hard for me personally to play a course this hard day after day after day after day for four solid rounds. But my goal is to compete with these guys and not really worry about them. I hope they all do really well. -2014

Q. How different is the wind around here compared to other courses?
JIMMY WALKER:
It really does swirl. It’s amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere where it does anything like this.

You’re out there playing Pebble Beach or San Diego, you know where the wind is all the time, because there’s nothing to block it and make it swirl and running in and out through the trees. It’s tough, it really is. I never really experienced anything like that. -2014

Q. Putting is always the key here, but is good iron play important as the golf course gets a little bit faster for the weekend?
JIM FURYK:
Yeah, I think so. Even driving the ball, really. I come here a lot of times trying to hit the ball a little too high and a little too hard off the tee. Because of that, I get a little wild, I hit some crooked shots, and then you can’t play. -2014

Q. When you look at your comfort level on this golf course, do you feel like a guy beyond his third Masters?
GARY WOODLAND:
I do, especially with Tony on the bag. I feel very comfortable with it. The whole set up is very well for me, sets up very well for my eye. I’m starting to show I’m playing better and better and hopefully I can ride the momentum today and play well tomorrow. -2014

Q. Have you learned more about Augusta? Are you still learning about Augusta here?
RORY McILROY:
I feel more comfortable here. I feel like I can go out and play my game and hit the shots. I’m definitely not as tentative around this place as I used to be. I’m becoming a lot more aggressive and hitting iron shots closer. And I think that’s a good thing because I just feel more comfortable on the golf course. I’m not as scared with some of the trouble, runoffs. Because you know what to expect. -2014

Quotes are from ASAPsports.com unless otherwise noted.



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