Inside Rickie Fowler’s love/hate relationship with Augusta National’s 11th hole

April 6, 2017

At a private sponsor’s event Tuesday evening, Rickie Fowler revealed that the two holes that set up best for him off the tee at Augusta National are the par-4 11th and the par-4 18th.

“I love it,” said Fowler of the tee shot at 11. “My driver just doesn’t draw for me. It’s either a straight ball or a slight cut.”

Fowler was at Augusta a month ago for a Mercedes spot, one that required him to hit multiple drives from the 11th tee.

“I arrived at 6:30 in the morning,” said Fowler. “We had to get this done before players came around. I hit 25 drives. Twenty-one of them wound up in the fairway, without any warmup.”

But for all of Fowler’s comfort with perhaps Augusta National’s toughest hole, his actual results should make him uncomfortable.

The Masters stats team ranked the lifetime performance on every hole at Augusta National of all 74 players in the 2017 field (those who have played before), and Fowler ranked a lowly 63rd of the 74, with a lifetime stroke average of 4.55 at the 11th. In 22 rounds at Augusta prior to this year, he’s 12 over, with two birdies, 10 pars, seven bogeys, two doubles and one dreaded “other”—a triple-bogey 7 in 2011’s final round. Fowler was just shy of the 25-round minimum that would have ranked him sixth-worst of all-time (1946-2016) at the 11th hole.

And his score on the 11th on Thursday? Bogey.

Make no mistake: The 11th at Augusta National is a true brute. Three-time Masters champ Phil Mickelson, for instance, owns a 4.22 career scoring average there in 90 rounds entering this year.

Fowler shot a final-round one-over 73 Thursday, done in by a double bogey on the 18th (the other hole he said set up well for him), but is still in decent shape as windy conditions held the field at bay. For Fowler going forward, the 11th will certainly be a key.