Francesco Molinari couldn’t hold his Masters lead. Picture: Getty Images
Francesco Molinari couldn’t hold his Masters lead. Picture: Getty Images

‘History dies at 12: The hole that separated men from boys

Mayhem at Augusta's iconic 12th hole turned the 83rd US Masters on its head.

"It all flipped at 12," Tiger Woods said of historic win.

The carnage began when challengers Brooks Koepka and Ian Poulter both found Rae's Creek as Woods made his way down 11.

Most days it's straight forward, but when the wind is blowing, 12 is a killer.

Even the commentators noted: "History dies at 12."

Ice-cool Italian Francesco Molinari, who had stared Woods down to win the Open at Carnoustie last year, had been flawless until he reached the 12th tee at "Amen Corner".

His eight-iron caught the wind, hit the bank, and rolled down into Rae's Creek and suddenly the tournament was wide open.

"Just a bad execution," said Molinari, who made double-bogey and surrendered the lead.

"I think we picked the right shot and just didn't hit it hard enough, as simple as that."

Incredibly, long-bomber Tony Finau, playing with Woods and Molinari, also found the water at 12.


Sensing an opening, Woods said his only focus was to hit long to the centre of the green.

"I had 47 over the first tongue in the bunker there, and so my number, I was hitting it 50 and just be committed to hitting it 50," Woods said.

"There's a reason why I saw Brooksy ended up short. Poults ended up short, as well. And so I when I was up there on the tee box and it was about my turn to go, I could feel that wind puff up a little bit, and it had been something Brooksy is stronger than I am, and he flights it better than I do, so I'm sure he hit 9 iron and didn't make it.

"So I knew my 9 iron couldn't cover the flag, so I had to play left, and I said, just be committed, hit it over that tongue in that bunker.

"Let's get out of here and let's go handle the par 5s, and I did.

"Yeah, the mistake Francesco made there let a lot of guys back into the tournament, myself included.

"There's so many different things that can happen on the back nine on Sunday - we all know that, and it played itself out again.

"There were so many different scenarios that could have happened after 12.

"It could have gone so many different ways, and I just kept saying, just keep hanging in there until the last couple holes and we'll see where we are."