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Is it true that the 3 holes that comprise "Amen Corner" at the Masters golf tournament are so named because it's the most difficult stretch of the golf course and players have to pray to survive it?

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That may be how it is used colloquially today (as that three hole stretch is considered difficult).


Herbert Wind first used the phrase "Amen Corner," from a title of a jazz album by Mezz Mezzrow called "Shoutin' in that Amen Corner," in 1958(1) and described its history in 1984(2).


During the 1958 Masters, a local rule had been put into effect for the final round due to rain the night before. This rule stated that a ball may be lifted and dropped without penalty if embedded in the fairway or rough. An official was not informed of this local rule, and as Arnold Palmer played the 12th hole, Palmer was instructed to play his embedded ball as it lied in the rough by this uninformed official. This led to scoring a double bogey (scoring a 5 on the par 3) on the hole. However, afterward, Palmer decided to use an alternate ball because of the local rule (and thought the official was incorrect in instructing him to play his ball as it lied). Using this alternate ball, Palmer scored a par (scoring a 3 on the par 3) on the hole. On 13, Palmer scored an eagle on the hole (scoring a 3 on the par 5). On 15, Palmer's score on 12 was officially declared a 3. Palmer went on to win the 1958 Masters by one shot.

Wind had wanted to come up for an "appropriate" name for what had transpired on 12 and 13 in 1958, came up with "Amen Corner," and it caught on.

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This article states:

Crenshaw, a two-time Masters champion, will have his longtime caddie, Carl Jackson, on his bag and Herbert Warren Wind on his mind. Wind, who died in 2005, coined the term “Amen Corner” to describe the stretch at Augusta National Golf Club, beginning with the second shot on No. 11 and ending with the tee shot on No. 13, where many Masters have been won or lost.

The widely held belief is that Amen Corner has sacred roots. It made sense to the Australian Jason Day, who said, “You pray to get around it without running into disaster.” Day’s countryman Adam Scott, the 2013 champion, chipped in, “Otherwise it can be the Blasphemous Corner.”

According to this article

Wind gave the monicker "Amen Corner" to holes 11, 12 and 13 because of the spectacular way in which Palmer played those holes on the final day of the 1958 tournament.

After a rainy evening the night before, the tournament adopted a local rule for the final round to cover embedded balls. A golfer whose ball embedded could, under the newly adopted rule, lift and drop it without penalty.

And wouldn't you know it, that rule came up during the final round, and in relation to one of the leaders. On No. 12, Palmer's ball flew the green and embedded in the bank behind it. But the official on the hole was confused about the local rule, and told Palmer he had to play the ball as it lie.

So Palmer hacked the ball out of its embedded position and scored a double-bogey 5. Then, disputing the official's ruling, he dropped a second ball near the original embedded position and scored a 3 with the second ball. Venturi always claimed that Palmer failed to announce before playing the original ball his intention to drop a second ball. Palmer claimed (and claims) he did announce that intention.

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