Augusta National's Amen Corner has become one of the most recognizable and iconic platforms in sports.
The three-hole stretch, spanning from holes 11 through 13, presents players with unique challenges featuring water, tricky tee shots and slick putting surfaces.
Extreme elements exasperated AmenCorner's treacherous nature during Thursday's opening round. Wind gusts nearing 35 mph caused uncertainty and concern for the world's best players while maneuvering through the difficult stretch of holes.
Starting with the 505-yard par-4 11th — nicknamed White Dogwood —players are presented with a tight driving hole that requires a booming fade off the tee. The second shot is no respite from danger, however, as it often requires a long iron into a green guarded by a large pond.
During Thursday's opening round, No. 11 played as the second-hardest hole on the course while producing 38 bogeys versus just two birdies. It will not be any easier Friday.
Arguably the most iconic hole at Augusta is the small par-3 12th. Most players will hit a 9-iron or less off the tee, depending on the wind, but the skinny green is guarded by Rae's Creek, two bunkers and a near 90-degree slope into the trees behind the green.
Over the years, players have used No. 12 to their advantage to get a birdie. The hole also has some teeth, exemplified by Jordan Spieth's untimely quadruple-bogey seven in the final round last year. TheGolden Bell may be short, but it is one of the most nerve-racking tee shots on Tour.
Thursday's swirling winds made No. 12 almost unplayable at times in Round 1. The short par 3 played as the fifth-toughest hole Thursday while wielding just six birdies.
After sweating and swearing through the first two holes of Amen Corner, players get a respite at No. 13, a 510-yard par 5 that played as the easiest hole on the course in Round 1.
Players must be able to hit a draw off the tee to curve their ball around a tight right-to-left dogleg. Guys like Bubba Watson sometimes hit it right over the trees guarding the left side of the fairway, but it's not a route most can take.
Making birdie at No. 13 is essential. The hole gave up 34 birdies Thursday, which was tied for the most with the par-5 second hole.
Where Amen Corner is positioned on the course adds to its intrigue and importance. By the 11th hole, players are starting to wear down a bit, especially when playing in heavy winds. Their minds might be slipping a bit as they try to get a couple shots back.
Patience is a must at Amen Corner, even at No. 13. Pressing and forcing shots can lead to balls in the water and big numbers on the scorecard.
It's not unheard of for players to finish Amen Corner in 3-under par and work their way back into contention. But it's also possible to ruin one's chances at slipping on a green jacket while playing the most nerve-racking stretch of holes at Augusta National.