What will come first at Augusta National: breaking 60 ... or 30?
Louis Oosthuizen's double eagle at the par-5 second hole in the final round of last year's Masters lowered the tournament's ringer score—the total of the lowest scores ever recorded on each hole—to 32 (40 under par). That's the good news. When you add the worst scores on each hole, the total balloons to 166, only 94 over par. And that 166 doesn't even include Billy Casper's 14 at the par-3 16th in 2005, when the 1970 Masters champion shot a 33-over-par 105 at age 73 but was disqualified for failing to turn in his card. That left Charles Kunkle's 95 in 1956 as the worst official round in tournament history. Nick Price shot a 63 in 1986 and shares the course record with Greg Norman, who duplicated the feat in 1996.
Before Oosthuizen's 4-iron from 253 yards, the second hole was the only par 5 at Augusta National that had not given up a 2. There have been aces on all four par 3s, and all 10 par 4s have been eagled. Selected highlights and meltdowns through the years:
• In the final round of the 1968 Masters, Roberto De Vicenzo holed a 9-iron approach shot for one of five 2s that have been made on the par-4 opening hole—but alas, De Vicenzo signed for a par 4 at the 17th instead of the birdie 3 that he made there, giving Bob Goalby a one-stroke victory.
• Gene Sarazen pulled off perhaps the most famous shot in golf history when he holed a 235-yard 4-wood shot for a double eagle at the par-5 15th in the fourth round of the 1935 Masters. The 2 helped Sarazen force the only 36-hole playoff in Masters history, which he won over Craig Wood. To commemorate the feat 50 years later for Golf Digest's 1985 Masters preview, the magazine persuaded Sarazen to go back out to the 15th the day before the 1984 tournament to re-create the circumstances. At 82, Sarazen hit several shots short of the water, then hit a couple into the pond. "Not bad after 50 years," we wrote at the time, and all these years later, no one has repeated Sarazen's 2 at the 15th. Bruce Devlin made the only double eagle at the par-5 eighth, in 1967, and Jeff Maggert made the only 2 at the par-5 13th, in 1994.
• Jack Nicklaus is one of seven players to eagle the par-4 fifth, but Jack added a twist, making a 2 in the first round in 1995 and repeating it two days later.
• Tom Weiskopf says he'd never hit a tee shot into Rae's Creek at the par-3 12th hole until the first round in 1980, when he hit five balls into the water and made a 13, matching Tommy Nakajima's 13 at the par-5 13th two years earlier for the highest official score in Masters history. "Later I found out that Jeanne [his wife at the time] was standing there watching in tears," Weiskopf told Golf Digest in 2000, "and a good friend of mine tried to lighten the situation. He leaned over to her and whispered, 'Tom's not using new balls, is he?' "
• In last year's first round Henrik Stenson took a two-shot lead to the 18th hole. A hooked tee led to a series of catastrophes, and Stenson became the seventh player to make a quadruple-bogey 8 at 18.
"It keeps on snowballing," Stenson said of his adventures, "and I got the snowman in the end."