Augusta National is simultaneously the most beautiful and cruellest golf course on the planet. Just as a player sees the silhouette of Masters success on the horizon, so it jumps up and stops you in your tracks.
The list of high-profile names to have fallen foul of Augusta’s charming torture is long and in recent times has included both Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. ‘Losing it’ - which let’s be honest, they both did - on Masters Sunday is undoubtedly more painful than any other day of the year.
The whole world, it seems, is watching with combined emotions of sympathy and masochism. Of course, once the dust has settled and the disaster can be placed into context, the challenge facing the player in question is to get over it.
But how do you rid yourself of the demons that have become so fiercely burnt into your memory? How for instance, did Jordan Spieth think he'd be able the stand on the 12th tee and block out the disaster that unfolded there in 2016?
While some might choose to ignore the scars, the American sought to confront them head on. In December of 2016, Spieth returned to Augusta. Here's how Jordan Spieth conquered his Augusta demons…
“I was very nervous when I got on 12 tee, and I hit an 8-iron over the bunker to about 15 feet,” he said in 2017. “I was pumped to hit the green, and then I hit my putt and it just about stopped short on the front lip and fell in for two. I probably gave like a big fist pump. I was walking around with my hands up, like ‘demon's gone!’
"And I went back the next day. We played it the next morning and I hit a 9-iron this time to a left pin, and it landed about three feet beyond the hole and it was really, really soft, and it sucked back and almost went in.
"So I got two twos out of No. 12 the first time back – the last two times I played the hole, I made birdie. Guys, we have some demons to get rid of here, I'd appreciate if y'all stood to the side of the tee box while I do my work here. That was cool.”
Spieth finished T-11th in 2017 and then 3rd in 2018, where a birdie on the 72nd hole would have meant he shot 62 and matched Patrick Reed's winning score.
He was T-21st in 2019 and T-46th in 2020, his worst finish at the event. Still, he has played some amazing golf at Augusta and despite his lack of form, you can never rule him out when he's striding the famed Georgia fairways.
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
Jon Rahm Wades In On The Distance Debate
Speaking on the Fore Play Golf Podcast, Rahm believes that the length of courses is 'feeding' players to 'hit it longer'
By Cieran Faulder • Published
St Andrews Links Trust Responds To Swilcan Bridge Concerns
The trust has responded after a number of users criticised the changes made to the iconic bridge
By Matt Cradock • Published
Who Is Jeff Knox? The Former Masters Marker
Get to know the famous Augusta National member a little bit better
By Matt Cradock • Published
Why Cam Smith Is Going To Win The Masters
This year’s Masters is set to be a thriller with a bevy of talented players hoping to contend. Fergus Bisset thinks Cam Smith could outshine them all.
By Fergus Bisset • Last updated
Will Bryson Break Augusta?
Can the big hitting American take on the famous Augusta National? Or does the famous Georgia course still have the capability of defending itself...
By Dan Parker • Published
Can You Visit The Masters?
It’s one of the most sought-after tickets in sport but it is possible to visit The Masters. We look at the options to become a patron.
By Fergus Bisset • Published
Who Owns Augusta National Golf Club?
Who owns Augusta National, and when was it founded?
By Roderick Easdale • Published
9 Perks Of Winning The Masters
Winning the Masters opens up a whole world of new perks...
By Michael Weston • Last updated
The Trophies Awarded At The Masters
We break down all of the trophies awarded at the Masters - there are a lot more than you think...
By Sam Tremlett • Published
The Nelson Bridge At Augusta National
The Nelson Bridge commemorates one of the most dramatic fightbacks in Masters history
By Sam Tremlett • Published