Players light up when talking about Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters. It’s a spiritual setting that warms the heart and the singular tournament that stirs the senses. The explosion of colors, the anticipation of a Sunday charge. A 12th hole that basks in beauty while serving as a devilish conquest, a green jacket that triggers dreams and lives on forever.
The gathering every April among the Georgia pines is matchless, from the Augusta National Women’s Amateur to the Drive, Chip and Putt competition.
Ahead of this year’s 85th Masters Tournament, Golfweek surveyed 25 golfers, including 12 winners of the green jacket and 15 major champions in all, asking questions ranging from the food to the golf course to the experience.
Who would win the Drive, Chip and Putt among the pros?
“DJ. He hits it far and he’s extremely accurate. The pitching part, he is extremely underrated. And his putting, that might be the thing that’s the most improved the past few seasons. So I’m going with him.” – 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman
“DJ. He’s driving it great and he’s pitching it great and he’s putting it great.” – 2003 Masters champion Mike Weir
“You’d have to like someone like Tiger.” – 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize
“I think Dustin Johnson would win that, as well. He could win the long drive, and he’s good with his wedges and he’s a good putter. He’d be a good bet.” – 1988 Masters champion Sandy Lyle
“DJ.” – Marc Leishman
“Oh my gosh. Whoever makes the putts. Just like real golf; whoever makes the putts wins. Because you have so many great players.” – 2012 and 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson
“I’d be right up there. I’d definitely be hurting with the drive, so if it was just the pitch and putt, I’d be in it. So I have no idea who would win.” – Kevin Na
“Anybody that’s playing the Masters can win it.” – Abraham Ancer
“That’s a good question. Well, the way DJ was playing last year, I’d take DJ.” – 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen
“Ooh. I don’t know. That’s a pretty good question. I’d love to see that. Right now, I’d have to say DJ.” – Matthew Wolff
“I feel like DJ just wins everything, so I’ll take DJ.” – Cameron Smith
“Anyone could win.” – Cameron Champ
“I think Cam Champ wins the long drive because he hits it so straight and so long. But I’ll go with Justin Thomas. He’s long enough and straight enough. He has a hell of a short game, so there’s a good chance he’ll chip one in. And he’s a real solid putter. I’d be hard pressed not to put a little wager on JT.” – Billy Horschel
“DJ is going to be hard to beat. But anybody can get hot and win that, just like any golf tournament.” – Tony Finau
“Oh, wow, that would be something to see. I’ll take Jordan Spieth because he’s such a great putter and has a great short game.” – Matt Kuchar
What one change would you make to the course?
“My God, it’s such a masterpiece. But I feel they keep adding distance. Maybe instead of just adding distance, make the fairways tighter.” – Abraham Ancer
“I would love to see plaques where the different champions won from, like where were the tees when they won, where certain shots were hit from, like Snead, Hogan. Other than that, I wouldn’t change a thing because it’s such a spectacular place.” – 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize
“It’s pretty good the way it is. I wouldn’t do anything.” – Marc Leishman
“For selfish reasons, I’d like them to get the course back like it was in 1997. Because the course was a lot shorter back then. And I would take the rough out. Because you would see more heroic shots because balls would go farther into the trees but you can still be creative from there.” – 2012 and 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson
“I think the new tee on No. 5 was a mistake. I know they flattened the front of the green a tiny bit but that green is designed for a mid-iron at the most and I hit 5-wood in last year.” – Kevin Na
“Make it shorter for me.” – 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen
“I don’t think I’d change it. It’s pretty good as it is.” – Matthew Wolff
“Make the green at 12 a little bit bigger.” – Cameron Champ
“I wouldn’t make 13 longer. I’d just move the tee a little bit to the left so you had to hit a really big draw to get around the corner.” – Cameron Smith
“I would make the 5th hole shorter again or I’d have the front part of the green softened again. And I would take all the rough out. And I’d take all the trees out on the right side of 11.” – Billy Horschel
“Since they pulled the tee back on the 5th, I’d add another bunker on the left side so if you hit it left 260 you’d get into a bunker.” – Tony Finau
“I’d take the rough away. I like the old-school, old way where the ball went right into the pine straw.” – Matt Kuchar