Tiger's woods

AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

At the beginning of Tiger's career, Augusta's par-4, 505-yard 11th hole looked different than it does today.

A version of this story appears in the April 2, 2012 "MLB Preview Issue" of ESPN The Magazine. See related McIlroy and Mickelson analysis or download the PDF here.

Back when Woods was making a mockery of Augusta National -- blasting tee shots into divotless portions of the fairway, hitting flip wedges into every other green, winning three of his first six Masters -- the 11th hole looked different. The forest on the far right was but a small cluster of trees. Tiger took advantage, bombing high draws and apparently infuriating the powers that be. In 2004, Augusta planted 36 fully grown pines directly in the flight path of Woods' drives.

Since then, he's been forced to play the hole with a fade -- and when that fade becomes a push, there's a forest full of consequences. So it should come as little surprise that since 2005 (the last year he won the Masters) Woods has birdied the hole only once in 24 rounds. It's also little surprise that almost all of his memorable final-round shots on 11 now come from those trees.

In 2007, he was stymied against a pine and sacrificed his 4-iron to hack the ball out of the woods; in 2010, his punch shot ricocheted off the base of a tree. How crucial has 11 been? In Woods' four wins, he's played the hole in 5-under par. The other 11 years? A pine-scented 12-over.

Illustration: INFOMEN

Woods' tee shots in the final round at the 11th hole since turning pro, 1997-2011

Follow The Mag on Twitter (@ESPNmag) and like us on Facebook.

Sponsored Content

Related Content