Augustas Lengthy Debate

By Kraig KannJuly 1, 2005, 4:00 pm
So Augusta National Golf Club is adding length just in time for next years Masters Tournament. The famed course built by the great Bobby Jones will jump from 7,290 to 7,445.
Chairman Hootie Johnson is on record as saying that players scores are 'not a factor' in the decision to take what I believe is the greatest major venue of them all to a whole new level. Instead, Johnson says Augusta National Golf Club is 'keeping current with the times.'
Keeping current with the times? Yes, that is true. Courses all around the globe are going to great lengths to keep up with todays player and todays technology. To that end, Augusta National is doing what is right.
By now youve probably heard that the par-3 4th will play some 240 yards from the new tee - an addition of some 40 yards. And when we asked Robert Allenby here about the change, (which he didnt know about) his eyes nearly fell out from behind his sunglasses. Already one of the toughest par 3s in the world, next year it turns into a Masters Monster.
Perhaps you heard that the 11th, a tough par-4 which doglegs to the left a bit, will be lengthened to 505 yards by the time Tiger and Phil see it next April. A 505-yard par 4! K.J. Choi holed it from the fairway a few years back. Dont expect that to happen much over say the next 100 years.
I need you to know that I love the Masters. It was the first major championship I covered for The Golf Channel back in 1995. Ben Crenshaw was the improbable winner. Why is that so important?
Given the changes to todays Augusta, I dont think Ben would have a fighting chance to give us the emotional and improbable victory that he gave us. Ben didnt have that kind of length.
So in 10 years time, weve gone from a golf course that gave a ball-striking, smooth stroking Ben Crenshaw a chance at victory to a course that measures distance and accuracy above all others.
One player told me on the range here at the Cialis Western Open that the new changes would be 'great for television ratings.' That comment confused me at first. But the player, whos made more than $1 million this year and is still looking for his first victory ' yet played at Augusta, said the change guarantees the long-hitting superstars like Tiger, Vijay, Phil, Ernie and others will be around for the back 9 come Sunday.
He added that the changes eliminate 'another 25% of the field from contention.' Can Chris DiMarco, whos not the longest hitter off the tee by any stretch, still contend in 2006? Can Mike Weir still slip on a green jacket with a course that has 505-yard par 4s?
Lets hope it doesnt rain.
Again, the Masters is my favorite major championship in golf. It always has been. Its the most spectacular venue of them all. But part of its charm is the ability to see birdies and eagles come the weekend. I hate to say it, but I dont want par to be a good score at the Masters.
The folks at Augusta National have always run a fantastic tournament. And there isnt a player alive who wouldnt love to play in the tournament at least once. Slip on the green jacket some Sunday? Wow!
Somehow, some way, some player will always find a way to take it low. My hope is that somehow, some way, that some player might still be able to be Chris DiMarco.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - The Masters
  • Getty Images

    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

    Getty Images

    Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

    The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

    President at the Presidents Cup

    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

    Cart on the green

    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

    Trump golf properties


    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers

    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm