Augusta National requires a lot of imagination, says world number eight Rickie Fowler as he goes in search of his first Major title.
The Masters, from the time you drive up Magnolia Lane to your first experience at Amen Corner, is a brilliant test of golf where even the world’s best have been known to resort to extreme measures in an attempt to conquer the beast.
‘You have to have a lot of imagination. That’s something growing up on just a public driving range back home, just a flat piece of land and had to kind of visualize and try and make up your own shots,’ says Fowler, ahead of Thursday’s opening round.
‘It’s something around here that I love to do and be able to kind of see what the ball is going to do in the air or what I want to try and make it do; and then what it’s going to do on the ground.
‘And same thing with putting. You have to be able to visualize and see where the ball needs to go. And you know, you can hit so many different shots out here, and use the slopes or not use the slopes. So I’ve had a blast getting to know the golf course. Even when you hit in the trees, there’s some fun shots you get to hit out here. You see Phil hitting out of the trees on 13 and that’s a pretty memorable shot out here.
‘Yeah, I feel like the more imagination you have and being able to use that to your advantage, that just makes it more fun. I feel like it can allow you to play even better.’
Fowler admits that the year’s first Major weighs heavily on the mind all year round.
‘I feel like you think about Augusta and the Masters all year. You finish this week and you’re looking forward to, if you are exempt for the next year, or even if you’re not, you’re looking, how do you get back, or you’re looking forward to being back here.
‘Really, through the off‑season to the start of the season with the first few events of the year, it’s the first major. It’s the buildup from January, February and March, that road to getting here. I would say the final month before is where you really kind of start to, you know, bear down and focus on trying to get the game really heading in the right direction and swinging well and playing well at that time, so you come in here with some more confidence.
‘I would say the final month before is where you really kind of start to, you know, bear down and focus on trying to get the game really heading in the right direction and swinging well and playing well at that time, so you come in here with some more confidence.’