Jack Nicklaus says: You have to make your choice of whether you want to hit a driver all the way up through the fairway or play position. I generally play for position with a 3-wood, playing to the right of the bunker and just short of it, leaving myself with a 5- or 6-iron into the green.
A lot of the fellows today are now playing driver every time and some are strong enough to hit it over all the bunkers. If you have a 9-iron or wedge, it becomes a birdie hole. It's really important to get the ball on the right level; if you do, you'll always have a birdie putt.
You always hear that the par-4 17th and 18th holes at Augusta National are not that difficult, but many times youíll see rounds lost here. Players can work their way through Amen Corner and 15 and 16 in really great shape, then they relax and before they know it, go 5-5 coming in. Itís just too easy to make bogeys, so you really need to bear down if you want to finish strong. Iíve played anything from a driver to a 1-iron off the tee, depending on the conditions. Some guys hit driver every time and others hit 3-wood to play it just short and right of the bunkers. I try to do that to leave a 4- to 7-iron to a green thatís receptive to any of those irons. You can fire at the flagstick here, except when it is positioned front left. Then you aim for the middle of the green and try to leave yourself a 12- to 15-foot putt. As I reached the 18th green on Saturday in 1963, I looked at the leader board and saw a ď2Ē beside my name. I also saw several ď1Ēs on the board, but Iím red-green colorblind, so I asked my caddie, Willie Peterson, how many of them were red. He said, ďJust you, boss."
Fuzzy Zoeller says: A dogleg right, there are deep bunkers down the left side about 245 to 265 yards out. The second shot is critical. It's uphill, hitting anywhere from a 3 to an 8 iron. There's a rise in the middle of the green. This is a classy finishing hole.
Tiger Woods says: Probably the longest 405-yard par-4 in the world. There are two bunkers guarding the left side of the fairway. Anything left will run into the bunkers, anything right will be snagged by the pine trees.
The problem with the tee shot is it's the first one since No. 1 that you have to work from left-to-right. For me, I aim for the right corner of the left bunker, as hard as I can. If I carry it, great.
If I pull it, I should be able to carry the bunker and put the ball into the gallery, or the old practice area. From there, you're left with a very difficult shot to a green that is two-tiered. Anything left will feed down, probably be 10-15 yards away from the green and you'll try to play a bump-and-run; anything right will be bunker.
So you have to hit two good shots on that hole and try to get a 4. And hopefully, that 4 will win you the Masters.
Fred Couples says: This is a great finishing hole. I always hit driver because I fade the ball. A lot of people hit a 1-iron or a 3-wood. You just start it at the two bunkers and then just try to work it away up the fairway.
Most times, I do hit good drives, so I think the hole sets up good for me. I can go to the green with all the pins (depending on how easy I hit the drive) with a 7-iron to a wedge to a green that's pretty receptive to shots.
It's just two-tiered and when the pin's in the front, it's pretty easy to get a birdie putt. When the pin's in the back, if you hit a good drive, you can still get up there.
But it's the tee shot that matters. If you don't hit a good tee shot, you'll struggle for a four. If you do hit a good tee shot, you're thinking about a good second shot and maybe making a birdie.
Bernhard Langer says: When I stood on the tee here in 1993 with a five-shot lead, all the pressure was off. It was a wonderful feeling and a joy to play the last few shots. Walking up the fairway as the soon-to-be Masters champion, you have a great sense of gratitude and happiness. You know that a lot of hard work has paid off and you're on the verge of earning the honor of wearing the famous green jacket. But first, you've got to finish the job. From the tee, it's about 245 yards to reach the first fairway bunker on the left side. Most of the time I try to hit just short of that distance. The strategy leaves me a longer second shot, but it widens the fairway and takes the bunker out of play. If you're feeling confident with your driver and your fade, you can aim at the bunker and fade the ball into the middle of the fairway. The second shot is often off an uphill, crosshill lie so it's easy to lose your balance. You don't want to miss the green left because a severe slope will force a difficult chip. The greatest shot I've ever seen here was in 1988, when Sandy Lyle's 7-iron from the fairway bunker landed within 10 feet.