Originally Posted by Homer Bailey
I watched some highlights of the 1997 Masters last night, and it became more and more clear to me that Augusta really has Tiger proofed the course. He used to just bomb it right on 11 and have wedges in where everyone else was hitting like 5 iron in. On 15 he was hitting pitching wedges and sand wedges in on his second shot.
The narrowed tee shots on 7, 11, and 18 have really shrunk the advantage he used to have there. I read somewhere that he used to gain 4 shots on the field on holes 7 and 11 over the course of the week, but now he plays them neutral to the field.
That being said, I think if he doesn't hit the pin on 15 on Friday, he wins the tournament this year. He just did not play the par 5's well enough this year, but oddly played the par 3's and 4's well enough to win. He competes there every single year (besides last year), but he really doesn't have that specific advantage on that golf course anymore since they placed more emphasis on driving the golf ball.
In 97 Tiger had a massive distance advantage on the field. When Tiger first really broke onto the scene he could hit the ball consistently farther than the other pros. Now most of the pros can keep up distance wise with Tiger.
I am glad they made the par 5's a little more difficult. There should be a risk reward factor, not players hitting wedges into them.