Morning Read’s series on Augusta National Golf Club’s back-9 hole continues with the par-4 14th, a sublime hole situated in the middle of a volatile scoring stretch
A closer look at Augusta National Golf Club's 14th hole for the Masters:
Name: Chinese Fir
2021 yardage: 440
1934 yardage: 425
All-time scoring average: 4.17
All-time difficulty rank: 8
Lowest year: 3.93 (2011)
Highest year: 4.41 (1949)
The best way to describe the 14th is straightforward. While the hole turns slightly to the left, players have no bunkers or water hazards to navigate. The fairway slopes from left to right, so players want to avoid having their tee shots run into the right rough. The course’s largest green, which measures nearly 10,000 square feet and slopes right to left, is the hole’s best defense. A dramatic ridge along the green’s front third can cause balls to run off the green’s front or make for tricky putting to higher plateaus.
1952: Bunker at right of fairway in landing area removed.
1972: Masters tees relocated to left and reshaped. Apron on green extended.
1974: Tees split.
1987: Green modified to provide for back-left hole location.
2002: Masters tees moved back 30-35 yards.
Notes: There have not been a great deal of changes to the 14th since the hole’s inception. Perhaps the most noticeable alterations, based off topographical maps, have been the narrowing of the fairway and rounding of the green.
ODDS AND ENDS
Each of Augusta National’s 18 holes has been given a name as a nod to the course’s horticultural roots. While the 14th is known as Chinese Fir, the hole was originally known as the Spanish Dagger. … Augusta National’s back nine is filled with so much history on each hole that ultimately some just don’t measure up by comparison. The 14th is such a hole. Players arrive at the 14th tee having finished Nos. 12 and 13 at Amen Corner. What awaits farther ahead is another risk-reward par 5 at 15 and then the par-3 16th. … Nick Price owns the hole’s highest score, an 8 posted in 1993, and there have been 20 eagles. In 1991, Bernhard Langer birdied the 14th in each round and is the only player to have played the hole in 4 under in one year. … Jack Nicklaus’ epic final-round charge in 1986 did not feature any dramatics at 14, but the leaderboard kept his attention. “As I got to the 14th tee, I looked up at the leaderboard, and there’s only two fellows in front of me. I was 7 [under par], [Seve] Ballesteros was 9 and [Tom] Kite was 8. I said, There’s only two guys in front of me I’ve got to beat now.” Nicklaus would make eagle at No. 15 and birdie at No. 16 to move into the lead. Playing behind Nicklaus was Greg Norman, who tied the Golden Bear for the lead with a birdie at No. 17. Norman bogeyed the 18th, allowing Nicklaus to win his sixth and final Masters. … In 1982, Dan Pohl walked to the 14th hole having eagled the 13th. After a booming drive, Pohl carried his pitching wedge approach shot from 118 yards, several feet past the flagstick, and then watched as it spun back into the cup. The feat made Pohl the first player to record back-to-back eagles in Masters history.
2010: Phil Mickelson won his third Masters title in what was quite emotional as it was the first major victory since his wife, Amy, had been diagnosed with breast cancer during the previous year. And many Masters fans will point to Mickelson’s aggressive play at the par-5 13th — hitting a 6-iron second shot from the right pine straw to within 5 feet of the cup and making birdie – as a huge reason for his win. But a deeper dive also will show a three-hole, back-nine stretch in Saturday’s third round as the jumper-cable boost his tournament needed. Mickelson began his round two shots back of 36-hole co-leader Lee Westwood. The Englishman’s lead on the field began to widen until Mickelson essentially said, Hold on. Mickelson, who has a flair for the dramatic, eagled the 13th hole. He then replicated Pohl’s feat with an eagle on the 14th, then made birdie at the par-5 15th. The eagle-eagle-birdie run erased a five-shot deficit and kept Mickelson, who shot 67 on Saturday, within a stroke of Westwood, who shot 68, after 54 holes.