The Mystery and Mystique of No. 12
By Merf under The Masters

When you reach the 12th hole in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12, the wind gauge arrow thingy starts spinning around like the minute hand on a broken clock in a Twilight Zone episode.

And after reading a couple of accounts of how the 12th hole plays (scooped up by Geoff Shackelford), it sounds like the game has it down just about right.

First, this from Dustin Johnson’s caddie Bobby Brown, on the mysterious 150-yard par 3.

During a practice round this week Brown said Johnson hit a “pure” 8-iron that splashed into the creek. Moments later he hit the same shot long. The lesson? Some things can’t be controlled at Augusta National.

“You just have to commit to the shot,” Brown said.

Amateur David Chung also wrote about the phenomenon in his Masters.com diary.

At No. 12, I had quite an experience. The flag was blowing to the right, but the wind was really helping to the left, so I took a 7-iron and hit a low draw in there, and the wind took it the way back into the Azalea bushes. It went like 15 yards over the green. It was crazy. You hear about it, but you just don’t understand it until you hit a shot there. I hit the 7-iron again but with a high soft fade, and it floated to the middle of the green.

While there have been 73 aces at the Par 3 contest since 1960, there only have been three at No. 12, and none since Curtis Strange in 1988. The most famous of the three aces was the first, Claude Harmon’s in 1947, who had this exchange with Ben Hogan afterward:

Hogan: “You know Claude, I can’t remember the last time I made a two there. What did you make?”

Harmon: “Why, Ben, I made an ace.”

Hogan: “Oh, well, that’s great, Claude.”

And then there’s Tom Weiskopf, the four-time Masters runner-up who found Rae’s Creek five times in route to a 13 during the first round of the 1980 Invitational.

And while we’re waxing on about the 12th, maybe the shot most identified with the hole is Fred Couples’ wayward tee shot in the final round of the 1992 Masters, which somehow hung up on the shaved bank, avoiding a watery grave. The luck propelled him to his only green jacket.

“The biggest break, probably, of my life,” Couples said after slipping into his green jacket. “I’m not so sure what would have happened if it would have went in the water like everybody else’s.”

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)