It’s become a Masters lure for players to try and skip balls across the pond on the par-3 16th and onto the green during the Monday and Tuesday practice rounds at Augusta National. “It’s turned into a tradition, you can’t get away with not skipping it,” said Justin Rose at Bay Hill. “The crowd boos you if you don’t.”
During the last few weeks of the Florida swing, I asked around ten players to reveal how close they’ve knocked it to the pin — if they even made it across the water, of course. It’s harder than you may think!
*”I think I normally under hit it and leave quite a few in the water. I haven’t reached the green — no, a lot of time they are too flat, so if they have pace, they thump into the bank. We will try again this year.” –Henrik Stenson
*”I got over the water both times, which is good. I think I hit it on the green last year — it was 30 feet past, but it was still on the green.” –Dustin Johnson
*”I didn’t make it. I left it in the water. I didn’t get booed. I guess they liked me there. They wanted to take it easy on the first-time contestant.” –Steve Marino
*”The closest I’ve gotten is 15 feet and then I’ve putted it in for two. My minor claim to fame.” –Stuart Appleby
*”I think I’ve plugged it in the bank. I can’t get that final skip onto the green. I had a few interesting ones — I got a little overzealous on one attempt. Hit it into the water and was really going for the aggressive skip. It took one bounce and took off like a rocket and nearly killed the people in the back rough…It’s always nice to tease the crowd a little — walk on a few yards and they think you’re not going to skip it, but you go back and do it.”
*”I got it to about 20 feet on my fourth attempt in 2009.” –Rory McIlroy
*”I’ve done a good job here and there. It’s a fun hole during the practice rounds. People love it. You kinda look forward to going there and trying to skip one over. I’ve gotten on the green a couple of times, but I’m not sure how close.” –Camilo Villegas
*”I’ve gotten it across 50% of the time, but I haven’t gotten it very close. I’ve been booed, oh yeah. My very first time to ever try that shot, I left it in the water. My second time I almost killed a turtle. Third time, I might have gotten over. The crowd gives you a hard time, but it’s all in good fun.” –Heath Slocum
*”I couldn’t get over (last year). It was stuck in the ridge.” –Matteo Manassero
*”(During a practice round a few weeks ago,) I tried skipping it over the water on 16. First one stayed in the water. I tried a second one and I hit it in the middle of the green so it was a good shot. I’ve got my club down now. It’s a four-iron off the right downslope. You don’t want too much downslope, mid-downslope four-iron is the shot.” –Kevin Streelman, who is playing in his first Masters this year
The best skip in recent history goes to Vijay Singh in 2009. (Knowing Veej, he probably grinds on the range, practicing this shot for weeks in preparation!) His ball bounced onto the green and went about 15 feet past the pin before rolling back down the bank and into the cup for a hole-in-one.
Well, guess where I’ll be hanging out on Tuesday??