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What would they call Amen Corner if they had to play it early in round?

Friday, April 02, 2010


Watch a video tour of the back nine at Augusta National Golf Club.

The legend of Amen Corner has been helped by its placement on the back nine, which received much more TV coverage over the years than the opening nine holes of Augusta National. (File/Staff)

If Augusta National's nines had not been reversed, would we still have Amen Corner?

The name given to the 11th, 12th and 13th holes came from Herbert Warren Wind, who was describing the action from the 1958 Masters in his story for Sports Illustrated. The famous trio has been an integral part of the tournament since it began, but most experts doubt it would have become as famous if it came so early in the round.

"There would be no Amen Corner," golf writer Dan Jenkins wrote.

Padraig Harrington agreed.

"Amen Corner became Amen Corner because it was 11, 12, 13. It became that because the pressure was on when you came to those three holes," he said. "It created its own history there because of where it was at. It wouldn't be there if it was the second, third or fourth holes."

Golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. turned to Greek mythology to explain Amen Corner's effect on a golfer if it came early.

"If Odysseus was sailing on his great Odyssey and he knew he had to sail between Scylla and Charybolis, he probably would not have set out," he wrote. "It would put him at such a disadvantage if he failed to navigate through the rocks and thus, Amen Corner during the round would be a stunning reminder of the difficulties that her winds so famously recounted when you say 'Amen' when you are through those holes safely."

Golfers know how chilly it can be early in the morning at the Masters, and that would take a toll, too.

"I've played many a practice round in the morning, and when it's cooler you're not able to attain some of the distances when it warms up later in the day," Ben Crenshaw said.

Imagine the effect on a golfer if he found the water and made big numbers on those holes.

"Earlier in the round, you are not as warmed up and your mind is not as focused and, as a consequence, you might not think very well," Jones Jr. wrote. "If you are not focused, you might not be committed to the shot at the top of your backswing and you would have not only bogies and regrets but set you up in a makeup position, which is very hard in any championship, particularly the Masters."

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