The Masters: Why do lefties keep winning at Augusta?
It’s one of golf’s great pieces of received wisdom – lefties have an advantage at Augusta National. But does the theory have any factual basis?
It’s certainly the case that southpaws have experienced more success in the Masters than any other Major, donning the jacket six times since Mike Weir won in 2003.
Only four of this year’s field of 91 are left-handed and three of them have already won the Green Jacket.
Why should it be? Well, one theory is it’s easier to control a fade than a hook, so a dogleg left is easier for a left-hander, than a right.
It’s no secret that the many of Augusta’s holes turn left. Even some of the par 3s favour lefties, as Mickelson said of the 12th: “As a lefthanded player, if I pull a shot and aim at the middle of the green, it’s going to long right or short left, which is exactly the way the green sits.
“It’s the opposite of a righthanded shot dispersion, which is why it’s such a difficult hole in the past. If you aim in the middle of the green and you pull it, it goes long left for a right-handed player, in trouble, or short right in the water.”
So how does a right-hander go about winning? Well, Jack Nicklaus learned how to shape the ball from right to left. And he won six times at Augusta.
THE 2015 LEFTIES
Of the 91 players who have so far been invited to Augusta, just four are left-handed, and three of these have already own the Green Jacket.
Masters record: Won in 2004, 2006, 2010. In 22 starts has made the cut 20 times.
Average finish: 14
Masters record: Won in 2012, 2014. In 6 starts has made the cut 6 times.
Average finish: 25
Masters record: Won in 2003. In 15 starts has made the cut 11 times.
Average finish: 36
Missed the cut in his only start
LEFT-HANDED WINNERS AT THE OTHER MAJORS
Bob Charles (1963), Phil Mickelson (2013)
Phil Mickelson (2005)
No left-handed winners