Q&A with Craig Stadler
Two-time Masters champion on water hazards, Augusta and slow play
Worst rule in golf?
I wish they would combine the yellow and red stakes and make them one.
It’s ridiculous they are different. No one knows what is what half the time – it’s confusing.
Worst thing about golf?
I’d love to come up with some way that effectively speeds up play. That’s what killing the regular tour. It’s not so bad on the Senior Tour but the regular tour is a nightmare.
Fining guys doesn’t matter, unless you make it obscenely high – $25,000 is nothing to them.
How far do you hit it compared to 1980?
I’m 25 yards further. In the early ‘90s I was consistently 12th to 15th in driving distance with high 260s and I’m 285 now. And it isn’t because I’ve got older and in better shape and stronger – it isn’t me that’s changed!
I wish Augusta would take away the rough. They put it in trying to Tiger-proof it but if anything it makes it easier rather than have the run-outs.
How has Augusta changed over the years?
There are lots more trees especially at 11 or 13. It’s 500 yards longer than it was when I started.
I mean, take 11; I hit two pretty good drives there this year, and I’m certainly not long but I’m not that short.
I just ripped a 2-iron into the middle of the green and I ripped a 3-wood on to the front edge. And there really wasn’t much wind. It’s made it pretty long for us old guys.
What about the rough?
I wish they’d take away the rough. They put it in trying to Tiger-proof it but if anything it makes it easier rather than have the run-outs. If you hit it left on 2 now over the hill you get stuck in the rough, whereas before you were down in the creek. It’s harder without rough.
Are the greens at Augusta greens quicker now?
Not really. They’re just better. Back in 81, 82 they were fast but not in fantastic shape.