Augusta National Golf Club has yet again redesigned the layout of the golf course for this year's Masters Tournament. In 1997, Tiger Woods obliterated the field with a display of power that no one had ever witnessed around Augusta National and it prompted several players and officials to make the course 'Tiger proof'. There were many changes for the 1998 and 1999 Tournaments and this year's Masters will see the culmination of continual agronomy and strategic changes to prepare Augusta for the onslaught of the power players.
In a statement from the prestigious Georgia Club, Chairman Hootie Johnson stated:
"After careful consideration following the 1999 Masters, and after consulting several players and our golf course architect, we made additional modifications. We have rebuilt the 10th and 16th greens for agronomic reasons to reduce Bermuda grass encroachment. At the tenth, it allows new pin positions by expanding the green front left and back right. And at the 16th, we have softened the right front and right rear of the green and expanded the front left side. Both greens are approximately 10 percent larger".
And the 17th hole which caused so many problems for the players last year has also received a facelift by removing two trees on the right hand side of the fairway at 175 and 255 yards. But they have added three trees between the 15th and 17th and another three to the left of the fairway on seventeen beyond 'Ike's Tree', which players must negotiate to set up the perfect approach. And to make it even tighter, the Championship tee for this year has been moved forward five yards.
"The changes at No. 17 for the 2000 Masters will continue to place a premium on accuracy off the tee. Overall, we were satisfied with the hole last year, but we think that this will be a further improvement." Said Johnson.
Also, the famous 12th hole, Golden Bell and the 13th, Azalea, have also been re-grassed due to Bermuda grass encroachment. And there will also be new pin positions available to test the players on these greens.
And at the 14th, Chinese Fir, more trees have been planted on the right hand side in keeping with their policy of reforestation which will also require greater accuracy off the tee.
If the course is set up in the usual way, with the rough appearing again and the greens slicker than a baby seal sliding over a freshly waxed kitchen floor, scores will be high and tempers fraying as the men of the Masters exact their revenge against the big hitters.
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