Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Why Left-Handers Have Had Such Success Lately at Augusta National
A few decades ago, there was a man by the name of Lee Trevino that played pretty solid golf. "The Merry Mex" as some called him wasn't your typical professional golfer, but he had a ton of talent, and the chutzpah to go with it. Over his career, Trevino would claim an incredible six major championships, but never completed the career Grand Slam because he never won a Masters at Augusta National. Why? Because in order for a right-hander to play the course efficiently, you have to work the ball right to left. Trevino didn't have a draw in his bag, always content with the little slider that worked all his career. It made him hate the Masters, and even say he would start skipping the events because the course set up so badly for him. It's too bad that Trevino wasn't Jack Nicklaus, who was left-handed but decided to play righty, because if Trevino had been a left-hander, Augusta National would have been his playground.
But lately (and this could be thanks to Phil Mickelson above anything else), the golf course has been dominated by lefties. Considering how many pros there are out there that play from the right side of the ball (meekly raises hand), it's an INCREDIBLE statistic that four of the last eight Masters have been claimed by a left-handed golfer. Why is that?
Well, there are a handful of reasons, but these are the most important.
First, and as any golfer knows, a cut is easier to control. It lands softer so even the bad shots don't run into more trouble, and at this course, a cut shot is the shot to hit. If you can pound it out there and let it peel back right to left, and land soft, you're going to be in more fairways than your competition.
Also, with the incredible undulated greens at Augusta National, hitting softer shots into the greens is the way to go. So, if you've been working on hitting cut drives for two months straight in preparation, and can do the same with your irons, with a more controlled spin, the ball is going to be closer to the hole, and in the right spot, more times than not.
Think about it like this - if you are a lefty, like Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson, and can boom your cut down the fairway as long as any righty can hit a draw, you're automatically at a huge advantage off the tee. Trevino never had this option, because his golf swing didn't move that way, but these two guys do have that option, since they're standing on the opposite side of the ball.
Don't be surprised if Phil or Bubba are putting on green jackets when the week ends. Being a lefty at Augusta is a huge advantage, and the last few years have really shown that.