The 13th hole at Augusta National arguably is the greatest par-5 in the world. When you’re watching the Masters this week, look to see where Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson hit their second shots. They’ll cut the corner with 330-yard drives and have 9-irons into the 13th green. It’s not the way it was designed. You’re supposed to be hitting a long-iron off a side-hill lie. That’s a shot that requires greatness.
It’s another example of why golf should make pros play with a ball that travels a little less far. There were 20 eagles, 141 birdies and 111 pars on the 13th last year. Augusta’s par-5 second and par-5 eighth both also have become way too easy. Augusta has adjusted. Twelve years ago it was 265 uphill to clear the fairway bunker on the first. Now it’s about 325. The par-3 fourth has gone from 210 to 245, even though the green isn’t built to take that long of a shot. No. 7 has gone from 365 to 450. When does it end?
Everybody likes the idea of one set of rules for the entire golf world. But making the pros play with a rolled-back ball is the easiest solution.