Our Totally Fictional Round at Augusta National – Part II of III

In honor of the Masters, myself and VMS contributor Dave are taking you through Augusta National, hole by hole, playing the course as if we were part of the field. Part II includes holes 7-12. Look for Part I here and Part III later today or tomorrow morning.

Hole No. 7 “Pampas” Par 4, 450 yards

Jon: What exactly is a Pampas?

Dave: I believe Pampas was an old wooden ship used during Civil War times.

Jon: Ok, good, so you have no idea either. I really am looking forward to Jim Nantz saying “and Tiger Woods climbs the tee box and reaches Pampas”.  Anyway, tight fairway means I’m playing shot number two from under a large pine. Knock down 3 iron puts me in front bunker. At this point, feeling a little better about my sand game so out in one but putting remains and issue. I’ll take a 6.

Dave: I don’t think people really understand how bad my slice is. Would you say that I lose about 150 yards of distance with my driver? In any case, I’m giving myself a 6 here as well but mostly because the pain/fear of playing Augusta has been dulled by my 4th cocktail of the afternoon.

Hole No. 8 “Yellow Jasmine” Par 5, 570 yards

Jon: I always try to hit my drive too hard on Par 5’s. Yellow Jasmine would be no different. The good news, there aren’t any bunkers surrounding the green. The bad news, you’re still putting on what is the equivalent of a sheet of ice tilted at a 45 degree angle. Give me a 9.

Dave: See your problem is that you haven’t yet realized that you aren’t any good and won’t be any good until you can play about 4 rounds a golf a week which is never going to happen for you because you will never be able to retire. Double par me!!!

Hole No. 9 “Carolina Cherry” Par 4, 460 yards

Jon: Carolina Cherry sounds like the perfect name for a soft drink. I’m not much for soda but I would definitely love to wash down a big old pulled pork sandwich w/ a frosty mug of Carolina Cherry.

Dave: I presume they would have Diet Carolina Cherry as well then.

Jon: I assume so yes. Back to the course, I’ll make the turn with a 5 putt and a 10. Total score through 9 holes: 54.

Dave: No way you shoot a 54 on the front 9. Be realistic, we’re talking about Augusta National. I’ll give myself an 8 here but only because I get lucky and hit the stick with a sand wedge from about 10 yards off the green. Total score through 9 holes: 63

Hole No. 10 “Camellia” Par 4, 495 yards

Jon: You once dated a Camellia right Dave?

Dave: Correct, and I don’t really want to talk about it. Ironically, one of her problems with my lifestyle was that I played too much golf. Go figure. Old wounds never really completely heal. I’ll take my 9 and a golf bag full of memories on to the next hole.

Jon: So sad. Well if it makes any difference I didn’t really care for Camellia, you ex not the hole, that much either. The pimento cheese sandwich and large Carolina Cherry have me reinvigorated!! Mark me down for a miraculous 5.

Hole No. 11 “White Dogwood” Par 4, 505 yards

Jon: And this is where the wheels really start to come off. I now recognize the holes we are playing after years of watching the back 9 at Augusta on CBS. My second shot travels somewhere near No. 13 tee box while my third goes strait into the drink. Drop four, hit five back over the green, 4 putt for eight. I now have no confidence heading through the rest of Amen Corner.

Dave: I don’t even finish the hole. Can we start saying double par is the max we can shoot on any given hole? No, ok fine, then better give me another 10.

Hole No. 12 “Golden Bell” Par 3, 155 yards

Jon: I’m so freaked out by Rae’s Creek that I end up totally blocking out a 9 iron towards 11 green. Of course, I assumed that our round was played without any other groups on the course thus avoiding any awkward conversation with Hunter Mahan who was attempting to line up his birdie putt on 11 before I “buzzed the tower”. Drop 2, hit 3 into Rae’s Creek. Now the frustration mounts. Forget about how fortunate we are to be playing Augusta and instead go into the golf bag for a Bud Light which happens to be left over from the previous summer. Anything to take the edge off. Give me an 8 and a whole lot of sorrow.

Dave: My nerves no longer exist thanks to the prescription meds and 2 Mint Juleps at the turn. I’m actually feeling good about this hole. 6 with a 4 putt. And by the way, images in your rear view mirror are closer than they appear.

Jon: Believe me I am aware.

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Score through 12 holes: Jon 79 Dave 88

view from Augusta National courtesy of @Luke_Donald

Our Totally Fictional Round at Augusta National – Part I of III

In honor of the Masters, myself and VMS contributor Dave are taking you through Augusta National, hole by hole, playing the course as if we were in the field. Part I includes holes 1-6. Look for parts II and III later today and tomorrow morning.

Hole No. 1 “Tea Olive” Par 4, 445 yards

Jon: I’ll give myself a 6. Always play loose on the first hole.

Dave: Make able 8 for me, although the dogleg right does play to my enormous slice.  On the green in 4 with a masterful 4 putt to top it all off.

Jon: Yeah, you really are an awful putter. Your problem is that you don’t take enough time reading the greens. That and you start walking after the golf ball before you even finish your swing.

Hole No. 2 “Pink Dogwood” Par 5 575 yards

Jon:  I’m giving myself a 8. Booming drive followed by a 3 wood of the deck that kills about 55 worms as it travels 25 yards into a fairway bunker. Two shots out of the bunker before flying the green with my 5th shot. 3 putts ought to get me home from there.

Dave: I’ll take an 8 here, as well.  My driver does not leave the bag.  A trinity of wobbly 3-woods gets me to the greenside bunker.  After three hacks at it from the beach, I lie 6, a yard from the hole.  Two put for the snowman.  Also, I think the pink dogwoods look poisonous.

Jon: Pink dogwoods are poisonous but only to women. The all male members of Augusta National would have it no other way. Also, it would take you way more than 3 to get out of any bunker. You might as well putt from the sand.

Dave: I never specified a club.

Hole No. 3 “Flowering Peach” Par 4 350 yards

Jon: It’s time we mentioned that these holes were named after massage parlors in Stamford CT.

Dave: I was just thinking that I would approach the Flowering Peach like a clumsy combination of AC Green and Kyle Brady.

Jon: I’m going with a bogey.  First par putt of the day but I have no chance on any of these greens so I miss by about 10 feet but sink the putt coming back for 5.

Dave: Have you had a look at this green?!  I could safely hit driver here, without fear of making those bunkers– thanks to a little trick I like to play with the horizontal axis.  I could be, potentially, chipping up the green on my third.  Then, from there? I’m off the green on my first putt– hopefully not on the beach– but recover with three putts from the fringe.  7.  Which is like a birdie for me.

Jon: I believe Sir Nick Faldo would call this green “undulating”.

Hole No. 4 “Flowering Crab Apple” Par 3, 240 yards

Jon: First par 3, I’m stuck between a 3 iron and a 5 wood which I don’t carry so I try instead to go easy on a 3 wood which just causes me to rip the ball 30 yards over the green into the flowering crab apples. Circus from there, I’ll take the double par and be happy.

Dave: A 240-yard Par 3, with a green the size of a g-string?  I’m so sure.  Uphill the whole way, with a nice little false front.  I don’t even make it to the back of the green, instead opting to squib my way up the slope.  On holes like these, I like to lay up.  There is no reason for me not to card an 8 here.  3 putts.  8.

Jon: The hole’s up hill? Ok, so maybe 3 wood is hooked off the tee instead of over the green. either way I don’t have a club for this hole.

Dave: Can I just point out how unfair it is that all of these greens– so fast to begin with– funnel back-to-front?  If you’re long, no putt.  If you’re short, off the green and try it again.

Jon: If we ever do end up playing Augusta National for real can you promise to not talk about how unfair the course is and just enjoy the moment!

Dave: Yeah, definitely.  When we play Augusta, I’ll try to enjoy it.

Hole No. 5 “Magnolia” Par 4, 455 yards

Jon: I smell another fairway bunker followed by a miraculous 4 iron out of the sand that leaves me 100 yards short of the green which is just about the right distance for me to pick my head up and chunk a sand wedge about 15 feet. Next wedge is perfect but by then, damage done. I’ll take a 7.

Dave: This is my favorite hole on the front.  Modeled after the Road Hole, if you didn’t know.  I would tee with a proper wooden club if i had one.  Also, I’ve started drinking.  The only thing that saves me here is that, for once, it’s relatively open.  Dogleg left, again, so the driver stays in the bag.  Iron-iron-iron, with one of them being a good one.  Doesn’t really matter which one, right?  I’m on another busy green in four.  Seeing clearly, putting calmly, I’m down in three more.  7 for me. These holes are so frigging beautiful, by the way. Have you heard the history about where all these different flora come from?

Jon: Well yes, but only because I began my research for this column back in November.

Dave: So you’re familiar with Fruitlands Nursery, then?  And that mad-scientist Belgian fellow? For another day, I suppose.  On to 6!

Hole No. 6 “Juniper” Par 3, 180 yards

Dave: Juniper. You know what that means…it’s GIN time!!!

Jon: What are we 75? If you ever do bring gin onto the course you must also walk with a push cart and intentionally hit into the group ahead at least 3 times.

Dave: This is the gentlemanly South.  Gin is perfectly acceptable.  Especially in the afternoon.

Jon: What do you know about the gentlemanly South? You were born in Delaware and grew up in Fairfield County CT. Florida for spring break does not qualify as understanding the South.

Dave: I’ve seen “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. Just tee your ball up.

Jon: Fair point. Par. I’m calling it right now. Eat your heart out McIlroy!!

Dave: The advantage of a down-facing tee is that I can roll a flubbed iron right up into those guardian bunkers.  Three to get (putt) out, three more into the hole.  7.  No problem.

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Total score through 6 holes: Jon – 35 Dave – 45

Check back in later today for Parts II and III

view from Augusta National courtesy of @RickieFowlerPGA

American Eyes Weep for Padraig Harrington

Breaking news out of Abu Dhabi. Three time major golf champion Padraig Harrington has been disqualified from the HSBC golf championship.  This is the second time in the last three weeks, Camilo Villegas in Hawaii, that a professional golfer has been DQ’d for a rules violation.  And here’s the kicker, in both cases the players themselves did not realize that they had committed the infraction but were rather “tattled on” by a television viewer.

Obviously, we could argue for days about whether it is a fair system that allows for fans at home to call/email officials and alert them to apparent rules violations. But I have a slightly different approach to this issue. For starters, how exactly does one go about getting in touch with a golf official during a tour event?  Is there a a published “tips hotline” that you can call anytime?  Wouldn’t this lead to more pranks than actual useful intel?  And who is answering these emails and phone messages? Do the PGA and European Tours both employ referees whose sole responsibility is to wait for viewers to call in with information?

Secondly, what if other major sports conducted their officiating in a similar manner?  Could you imagine what the NFL switchboard would look like on any given Sunday? Fans would be lining up to call in and point out that Hines Ward did not maintain control of the ball as he fell out of bounds.  Or, picture the NBA accepting emails from fans indicating that Dwight Howard just committed another 3 second violation. Would the league office go to the video, confirm the infraction and alert the officiating crew that a change needed to be made?

Maybe it’s just a golf thing. When you think about it, what sort of person has the time to call/email a tour official and tell them that a professional golfer made a mistake? In the words of Judge Smails, “Don’t you people have homes?”.

view of the Bob Hope Classic courtesy of @BobHopeClassic

Ryder Cup Recap: A Continent Defeats a Country

Give the US team credit for fighting back Monday during the singles matches to make the final result, 14.5/13.5, much closer than it could have been.  After Graeme McDowell sunk this big putt on 16, it was pretty much curtains for Hunter Mahan and the Americans.  4am made for an early Monday morning and even longer day of work.  Credit goes to NBC for streaming the entire day of singles matches online.  It does raise the question, why wouldn’t they have done this everyday?  Looking forward to catching up on some sleep tonight. Here’s hoping Pats/Fins is over at the half