Very few people know the Masters Tournament and Augusta National as well as Nick Faldo, three times a champion there. You may recall that his first two wins came via playoffs in back-to-back years, over Scott Hoch in 1989 and then Ray Floyd a year later. As Faldo himself might say, pretty stern stuff, that.
Most likely what you remember about his 1996 victory is simply that it came at the expense of Greg Norman, whose historic collapse in the final round has been well documented. But when we asked Faldo, now our playing editor, about that day, he reminded us that their duel was no cakewalk and that it was far from settled when he found himself at a pivotal juncture on the thirteenth hole. True, he was up two strokes at the time, but he was facing a troublesome lie, and a missed shot at that point would have let Norman back in. How Faldo played that shot, and other pointers derived from his years at Augusta, can be found in a special Masters edition of The Faldo File.
Augusta also graces the closing page of this issue. There you’ll find Luke Donald’s description of the twelfth, his favorite hole in golf. Just for fun, we went back through the record book and discovered that in the three years he has played the tournament, Donald’s scores on that hole have been 3-3-2-3-3-4-3-2-4-3-3-3. Who wouldn’t like a hole that had been that kind to you, while all around you players were three-putting, hitting water balls and otherwise squandering strokes?Meanwhile, for those who find themselves suddenly inspired to attend this year’s Masters, see our Q&A.
In some ways this is a strange time for golf, with drug testing, broadcaster flubs, equipment arguments, FedEx Cup points and other issues distracting us from our pure love of the game. But every spring there comes a special event that gets us refocused. I, for one, am ready for April 10.