It certainly did for Schwartzel, who birdied his last four holes last year. This year, like all years, the final nine holes on Sunday will play a major role in deciding the winner. The good news for the players is that traditional Sunday pin locations have been established over the years, so they have a good idea of what they’ll be facing.
"Augusta National doesn't reward good shots, it never has," said Peter Kostis, a CBS golf analyst who sits in the 13th tower every year at the Masters. "It always rewards great shots. If you hit a great shot, then you can attack some of these holes. But if you don't, you'd better damn well know where to miss it, because if the ball goes into the wrong place you're going to pay a dear price."
I asked Kostis, Jim “Bones” Mackay (caddie for three-time Masters champion Phil Mickelson) and John Wood (caddie for PGA Tour star Hunter Mahan) to explain how to approach these hole locations. Here’s what they had to say.
10 (Camellia), Par 4, 495 yards
Mackay: "You want to put the ball in the fairway first, but the big thing about that hole is club selection. Where do you ultimately want to play it from? Certainly if the pin is back-left, you certainly don't want to mess with long and left, a la Lenny Mattice in that playoff [2003 with Mike Weir]."
Wood: "From the fairway, we're going to try and hit a touch right of the pin and hopefully get a putt that goes straight uphill with a touch of right-to-left. That's as green light as it gets on that green, but obviously it is all relative."
Kostis: "It is not that easy a hole location. The ideal place to putt from is short-side, back up the slope a little bit, but it's difficult to get the ball there. What makes that hole difficult is that it looks like it tilts from back to front, but it doesn't."
11 (White Dogwood), Par 4, 505 yards
Mackay: "Off the tee you just want to be in the fairway. To a pin that severe, you want to be in the short grass for sure, so you're just trying to hit into the fairway and make four. Hitting to the hole, 30 feet, 40 feet right is often not a bad shot there. If you make three on it, it's a happy accident and you move on."
Wood: "Unless the conditions are such that it is so downwind you're going to have a 9-iron or an 8-iron going in, you don't go at that flag. If you're sitting back there with a 5-iron or a 4-iron, you're going to aim at the right edge of the green and try to hit a shot that lands short of the green maybe and on the right edge of the green."
Kostis: "You've just got to stay away from that hole. You'll see guys hit it short and right, or pin-high and right all day long. It's just not a hole that you can go for."
12 (Golden Bell), Par 3, 155 yards
Mackay: "The question is, Are you going to get the wind you want when your player is ready to play? When the wind is blowing 15 mph, you're on the tee thinking that three is a fantastic score here, let's hit the ball over the front bunker, two-putt and get the hell out of here. But if you are playing in a 4 mph wind and the green is receptive, you'll be much more likely to do what Phil's done a couple of times and try to make a two."
Wood: "No matter where the pin is, we're going to try and hit it in the middle, 4 or 5 yards over the bunker, and leave ourselves a 25- or 30-footer. If you are in position to win, to me, it's a lot like No. 17 at Sawgrass because it's always in the back of your mind. But no matter what your position is, you start thinking about it. You start thinking about the wind there and what it's supposed to be doing because the wind is more goofy there than any other part of the golf course."
Kostis: "This is arguably the most difficult hole location on 12 because if you take enough club to get the ball pin-high, you've got a very small area to hit it in. You've got to hit it right of the back bunker, and if you don't hit it there you're either going to pull it and end up in the back bunker or mis-hit it into the water. Twelve is the ultimate par 3 because it requires you to pick a line, pick a distance, and execute both simultaneously."
13 (Azalea), Par 5, 510 yards
Mackay: "That's an eagle pin. Most guys are hooking 3-woods, but because Phil is left-handed, we get to slice a driver. We're just trying to put the ball in the fairway because if you do you'll most likely have nothing more than about a 5-iron there into the green. Then it's a matter of hitting that 5-iron and getting it onto the proper ledge and letting it feed to the hole."
Wood: "If you have played 10, 11 and 12 well, at this point you're thinking about pressing down the accelerator and saying to yourself, 'Let's really be aggressive off this tee and turn it around a little bit.' Depending on the club, you may aim a little bit more to the left and play the break. In most cases, we’re going to come in 20- or 30-feet left and long and have an eagle putt coming back down."
Kostis: "Thirteen is the eagle hole, maybe even the double-eagle hole with the traditional Sunday hole location. The distance that you have to negotiate on your second shot is not particularly difficult; it's your stance that makes it difficult. People don't realize how much above your feet the ball is. I think it's a testament to the fact that you don't have to build a 667-yard par-5 in order to make it exciting."