April 12, 2010
Lee Trevino was never shy in front of a microphone, and that was the most apparent when talking about Augusta National. Trevino hated the course, calling it "stupid" and not showing up certain years because it just wasn't for him. Part of that was how highbrow the course was compared to what Trevino was used to. The other reason? Lee couldn't work the ball right-to-left.
That is, in a nutshell, what Augusta National makes you do. If you can't draw the ball as a right-hander, you aren't going to have much fun at the Masters, which means, consequently, that as a lefty, you need to be able to control the cut.
And that is why being a left-hander is so great for Augusta. In the last eight years, four winners have been left-handed, meaning putting a premium on working the golf ball while controlling it helps when you're playing there.
Why is a cut more important than a hook? Well, the simple answer is this. If you cut the ball you are putting a more controlled spin on it, allowing the ball to land softly as it digs into the turf. A draw has overspin on it, so when it lands it usually rockets off down the fairway. It's the same reason why hooks go further. When the ball hits and runs out another 30 yards, it sure isn't as easy to control as a ball that lands and sits where you want it.
While Augusta is a long track, keeping the ball in certain quadrants is imperative, and that is what Phil Mickelson, for the most part, was able to do.
Could Phil still compete if he was asked to continually turn the ball over? Sure, like he said after winning, his short game is so sharp that it makes up for him missing tee shots here and there. The difference is, when Phil misses a draw, it is a big miss. He could sneak a ball into Rae's Creek as easy as anyone in the field if he was asked to move the ball like right-handers do.
Think Mickelson is the only one with success there? Mike Weir obviously was the victor in 2003, and long-hitting Bubba Watson has played in two Masters, making the cut in both and finishing in the top-25 once.
Just know that if there is a golf course molded for a left-hander to succeed, it is Augusta National.