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At the bottom of this post I’ve attached a reference piece that should compliment the final round of The Masters well – a detailed attack strategy laid out by The King himself.  And who better to guide us through Augusta National than the 4-times winner and one of the greatest players ever to stick a peg in the ground.  If modern golf is checkers and traditional golf is chess, then Arnold Palmer was Jose Capablanca and his favorite openings and lines are laid out here for all to see.  Go ahead and compare the clubs that Arnie was hitting in 1963 to those in today’s final round.  You’ll still see more short irons now than back then but the Green Jackets have been pretty successful at lengthening the course to keep the field hitting similar clubs on as many holes as possible. It’s interesting to note that while Jack took the title in 1963 with a 286, Palmer bounced back to take the title in 1964 with a 276.  Here’s how The Masters – Profile of a Tournament by Dawson Taylor summarized his 4th and final victory:

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Tony Lema and Arnold Palmer were among the favorites in the 1964 Masters Tournament.

Gary Player, facing a tonsillectomy, was not up to his usual fine state of physical fitness.  Rains had slowed the coure so the word was out to watch out for the long hitters, Nicklaus and Palmer.

At the end of the first day, Palmer was clustered with a group of four others – Goalby, Love, Nagle, and Player – at 69.  Only Player would end up in the top ten and he would be ten strokes away from the eventual winner.

When the dust had settled on the second round’s shooting, Arnold Palmer had brought in another sub-par round, this time a 68, and although Tony Lema also scored a 68, Arnold was already four strokes ahead of the field.  Gary Player was riding in second on a 69-72, 141 halfway count.

Arnold Palmer birdied four of the last six holes in getting his 68 and had hit a 1 iron to the thirteenth green on his second shot, which left him five feet from the hole.  The “eagle” became a birdie when he rimmed the putt.  Tony Lema did make his eagle at No. 13, however, on a 3 iron to fifteen feet from the cup.

On the third day, the script remained the same, as Palmer took a five-stroke lead on another great 69 for a 206 total at 54 holes.  before the largest crowd in Masters history, estimated ot have been 40,000 people, Palmer birdied Nos. 14, 15, and 16.  Bruce Devlin, Australian Amateur Champion in 1960 and winner of the Australian Open while still an amateur, made a strong move toward catching Palmer when he registered an excellent 67 and moved into second position at 211, five shots behind the leader.

On the last day, Palmer won with ease by six strokes when he scored a 70 for a 276 total, only two strokes away from Ben Hogan’s low record total of 274 in the 1953 Masters.  Palmer was in trouble twice on his last round, once at No. 11 where he hooked a 3 iron into the water and scored a bogey 5 and at No. 13 where he again hooked, this time into the trees on the left.  he “saved” this hole by getting out of the woods with a wedge and then screamed a 4 iron to the green for a saving par.

Arnold Palmer thus became the first four-time winner of the Masters, surpassing Jimmy Demaret’s record of three victories in 1940, 1947, and 1950 and Sam Snead’s record of three victories in 1949, 1952, and 1954.

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DOWNLOAD LINK –> Palmer Plan

Update 4/10: Some good analysis from Ironsmith over at ABS comparing the 1963 version of Augusta National to the 2012 version:

Augusta National
Year 1963 2012 Net Difference
Hole Par
1 4 400 445 45
2 5 555 575 20
3 4 355 350 -5
4 3 220 240 20
5 4 450 455 5
6 3 190 180 -10
7 4 365 450 85
8 5 530 570 40
9 4 420 460 40
Front9 3485 3725 (240 yards longer)

10 4 470 495 25
11 4 445 505 60
12 3 155 155 0
13 5 475 510 35
14 4 420 440 20
15 5 520 530 10
16 3 190 170 -20
17 4 400 440 40
18 4 420 465 45
Back9 3495 3710 (215 yards longer)

Full 18 6980 7435 (455 yards longer in total)

6.52% Longer course over 49 years.

 

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