Manhandling Augusta National

I don’t think this got any attention last year, with the focus on Kenny Perry’s collapse and Angel Cabrera’s off-the-tree shot in the playoff. But I recently took a look at Cabrera’s shot-by-shot account of his final round last year, and it is extraordinary.

He did not hit more than a 7-iron into a par four, he reached all the par fives in two with irons, and he hit more than an 8-iron into only one par three. This shows two things: 1) Cabrera is monstrously long and 2) Even at 7,435 yards, Augusta National is still very manageable for even the average hitter, who would be hitting one to three more clubs into the greens.

Here’s the rundown:
1: 445 yards, driver, sand wedge
2: 575 yards, 3-wood, 2-iron
3: 350 yards, 5-iron, pitching wedge
4: 240 yards, 4-iron
5: 455 yards: driver into bunker, short in two (club unspecified)
6: 180 yards: 8-iron
7: 450 yards: driver, pitching wedge
8: 570 yards: driver, 3-iron
9: 460 yards: driver, pitching wedge
10: 495 yards: 3-wood, 8-iron
11: 505 yards: driver, 9-iron
12: 155 yards: 9-iron
13: 510, 3-wood, 5-iron
14: 440, driver, pitching wedge
15: 530, driver, 6-iron
16: 170, 8-iron
17: 440, driver, pitching wedge
18: 465, 3-wood, 7-iron

That’s a wedge into six of the 10 par fours, middle irons into two of the four par fives. There was some wind that day, but you would be hard pressed to see which direction it was coming from based on Cabrera’s shot-by-shot. It looks like he was playing downwind on every hole.

Granted, the course can play longer when the fairways are softened by rain, but that decidedly won’t be the case this year. They are very fast, and even if we get a little rain on Thursday they won’t slow down much.

By the way, Cabrera still managed only a 1-under-par 71 in that final round. But his length did pay off down the stretch with birdies on both par fives on the back nine as he played the last six holes in 3-under to catch the faltering Perry.

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