Augusta National drastically changes Masters Sunday hole location on par-3 16th
Sorry, folks. You likely won’t see an ace on the 16th hole today at Augusta National.
That fateful par-3 that has hosted so many slowly creeping shots drop into the cup for a 1 has a new hole location on Sunday at this abnormal Masters.
Thirty-one paces on and four from the right is where you’ll find the Sunday 2020 pin, a difficult place to get to at this wildly sloping green (and reminiscent of where the hole was located in the 70s). The typical position is about 30 paces on and four from the left. So yeah, much different.
Most years we’d see draw shots played into the Sunday location, landing in the center of the green and trickling over, eventually flirting with the cup. Tiger Woods gave us the blueprint last year. Even if his didn’t drop, Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau saw their shots fall. It’s a tradition of sorts, and many people love it. But not everyone.
The only issue — if it can even be deemed as such — is that the green creates a quasi-funnel to the hole. Hit it into the funnel and you’ve got a chance at an ace. Do we want a funnel influencing the Masters with just three holes left to play? That’s a question I posed to Jack Nicklaus three weeks ago.
Nicklaus spent part of our 90 minutes together examining the merits of each hole at Augusta National. To him, some are great, others not so much. The 16th, he said, “is just a nice par 3.” But what about that Sunday pin, I asked. (I am very much in favor of the 2020 location.) We agreed that it is a bit of a funnel, and Jack likes it for the excitement it delivers. He’s content with it, and we ended it with his one final thought: “You still have to hit it in the funnel.”
Fair enough. (You can watch more of that interview in the video above.)
Nicklaus was the perfect subject for this discussion because his playing career spanned the transition between Sunday locations. In 1975, his fifth Masters victory, Nicklaus made a 2 with a long putt all the way up to the back-right pin (similar to the 2020 location). His sixth Masters win in 1986 was with the back left position, where Nicklaus nearly made an ace during his incredible comeback charge.
So, which hole location do you think is best? That’s certainly up for debate. The 2020 location will play more difficult. The 2019 (and probably 2021) location is a hype train with patrons flooding the grounds. Both might be good! Decide for yourself, and enjoy the show.