Bubba and Reed feel 13th hole changes will take excitement out of Masters

Ronan MacNamara

Bubba Watson (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)

Bubba Watson and Patrick Reed both played practice rounds at Augusta National last week where they saw the new 13th tee box for the first time. Having played it they feel the lengthening of the hole will dampen excitement on the back nine.

Both Watson and Reed are part of a six-strong contingent of LIV golfers who have lifetime exemptions into the Masters having won the green jacket in the past and they feel the lengthening of the par-5 13th will encourage more players to lay up with their second shots rather than go for the green in two.

“13 I thought was good. It looks beautiful. But I think there’s going to be — the score is going to be the same, the average score, but I think there’s going to be a lot more laying up just because the water is now in play, the little creek there is in play. You think about it more,” explained Bubba, a two-time Masters winner in 2012 and 2014.


“I hit two good drives and I had 230 — I had 231 the first day and then I had like 227 the second day, and I hit two drives, so I hit a 3-iron one day and a 4-iron — the day I hit the 3-iron the pin was up front, 14 on from the left, close to the left over there, and I hit 3-iron, but in the tournament I probably would have laid up. So it was just one of those things. I think it’s going to be more laying up just because it’s going to be questionable.

“But a lot more pars, I believe, but yeah.”

Reed echoed the sentiments of Watson believing the length of both par fives on the back nine will take some excitement out of the tournament with players being more conservative with their approaches to the green.

“I was there last week. It was good. Like Bubba said, on 13, there’s going to be a lot more laying up. I played with DJ and Harold over there for two days, and I went in there with hybrid for two days off of that lie, and if the greens firm up at all and get to kind of tournament speed, with the ball that far above your feet, that hybrid isn’t coming in that high.

“DJ laid up both days. I laid up. Tournament time I would have laid up, but since we’re out there seeing it, I of course went send for it.

“With adding that extra length, you can’t cut as much of that corner. You can’t get far enough down that left side that — I’ve always had where if it’s 4-iron, no, I can’t turn it around that corner. If it’s a 4-iron or less, I’ll send, but after that it’s a lay-up.

“I think it’ll take a little bit of the excitement out of that 13, and then adding 15 being 550, if it’s into the wind, guys aren’t going to hit 3-woods into that green because it’s hard to hold that thing, and long is so dead at tournament speed.

“Unless you get the right wind conditions, you could just start seeing lay-ups on both of those par-5s, and now you’re taking — where it used to be you could make a 3 but you could also bring 6 and 7 into play, now a lay-up where it’s a 4 or a 5.”

The famous line is that the Masters doesn’t start until the back nine on Sunday, with many players hoping to jockey for position so they can launch a back nine charge with both the par-5 13th and 15th in mind.

Reed, a 2018 Masters champion, feels that the more Augusta lengthen the course the less of a thrill the back nine will be and will reduce the chances of someone emerging from the pack and going on a hot streak into contention.

The American believes whoever can plot their way around the course and is the most clinical with their wedges will have a great chance of winning on Sunday evening.

“Well, the reason why you can make up shots is obviously because if you can get hot on 13 and 15. But now with the length on 11 and lowering that right side on 11 that they did last year; 12, you don’t have to do anything to that, that can be a bear just because of all the different wind directions, and you still have a ton of danger on that back nine. It being the back nine at Augusta, especially on a Sunday, now you add nerves into it. Greens have gotten more crusty, it gets faster, firmer on that late Sunday. A lot can happen.

“I think what it’s done is just put more premium on course management, shot making, and wedge play. When I was out there last time, I realised that every wedge shot you have into that golf course, if you give yourself 60-, 70-, 80-yard wedge shots anywhere else, they’re easy because it’s all flat lies. Every one of them is either ball above feet, below feet, uphill lie, downhill lie to a green that’s elevated and running away half the time. So everything gets a little bit more complicated.

“If you have any butterflies or anything kind of running through you, it just makes those shots that much harder.”

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