There is a prevailing notion at the Masters every year that you must play the par 5s splendidly to wear green on Sunday. It’s an easy point to make, and it makes sense.. So it’s less about taking advantage of the four par 5s than it is about taking advantage of the four easiest holes.
I looked at the last 10 Masters winners to see their overall scores and their scoring on the par 5s. What I found, and this is less statistically conclusive than it is just interesting to think about, is that the last 10 winners made bank on the par 5s. The lone exception? Danny Willettt last year. Here is a look.
These are all wildly different players from a stylistic standpoint, but they nearly all torched the par 5s. The only two who made up fewer than 50 percent of their scoring on the par 5s were Willett in 2016 and Immelman in 2008. Even the short-hitting Zach Johnson laid waste to the par 5s at Augusta.
This is not a surprise, but it is informative for trying to win the 2017 Masters. You don’t have to score well on the par 5s. You can win without doing it. But man, it sure helps if you want to mix it up on Sunday afternoon with the first major of the season on the line.
The biggest benefit might be unblocking the part of your brain that wants to get impatient.
“You play these par 5s and you think, ‘The winners from the previous whatever years have all played these par 5s so well. I just parred my first three par 5s; I’m losing strokes,” Jordan Spieth said after winning the Masters in 2015.
“Well, that’s something that’s easy to think about here, but you let ‘em come to you, you let the birdies come to you. I just think that this place brings that kind of mentality into me and Michael. I don’t know why, but it just does. I’m very pleased that it does.”
Did you see what he said there? The mental panic started to set in a little because he wasn’t scoring on the par 5s. This is from a man who tied the all-time scoring record that year. One of the mentally toughest golfers in the game. So you can imagine how it would be for others who know the importance of scoring on Nos. 2, 8, 13 and 15.