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April 10 2013

11:01 AM

Tip from Travis: Masters preview

Rickie Fowler works on his putting Wednesday in preparation for the Masters. (How/Getty Images)

By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy

Let’s change things up this week. Instead of talking about last week’s winner (congratulations Martin Laird), a brief preview of the Masters is in order. After all, it is the first major championship of the year, and the unofficial beginning of the golf season.

Yesterday, I walked the grounds at Augusta National. As always, it is looking perfect. Defending champion Bubba Watson was on the range early working on his game along with the rest of the best players in the world. As expected, the crowds were huge.

After walking the course, I found myself with so many things to write about. But let’s focus on a couple of things to watch, and a few players who are primed to be in the hunt.

1. Lag putting: One of the most overlooked areas in the game is lag putting. This week you will see the best players work extremely hard to two-putt, not only from long distances but from close to the hole in certain situations.

Avoiding three-putts is an area that most amateurs need to work on. How many times do we go to the practice green and work on long putts? For most, not too often, but this is an opportunity to easily save strokes. This will be a must this week for those competing for the Green Jacket.

2. Approach shots: Like all golf courses, Augusta National has some green-light flags. There are others you just don’t mess with. Some players fade it; some draw it. The reality is there are many times the players will be aiming away from the flagstick.

This is an approach so many of us should take more often. There are hard pin placements on every golf course and aiming away from them is a good call in order to make more pars and minimize damage.

3. Selections: There is only one day left to fill out your Masters pool, so let’s look at a few names to consider. It’s been a great year for instructor Sean Foley. His three players have all played very well. Therefore, my selections this week are all from his stable: Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan.

Enjoy the Masters everyone!

Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.



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