Players noticing subtle changes to the course


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Augusta National Golf Club officials have announced 101 significant hole changes over the years.

They announced before this year's Masters that the practice putting green was shortened to improve traffic flow behind the first tee, that the front of the second green was widened by 8 feet, that the 15th green was rebuilt and that 7 yards were added to the front of the fifth and 13th tee boxes.

It’s the course changes officials don’t announce that challenge players as they play their practice rounds.

“I noticed a lot of subtle changes,” Phil Mickelson said.

Mickelson said there’s a change to the back-right portion of the second green that will affect plays into the traditional Sunday pin there. He said getting close to that pin if you laid up short of the greenside bunker was difficult.

“But now [the green] has more of a funnel effect, and you can play behind the hole and it will come back to the pin.

“That will affect the way I play No. 2 because now it’s much more difficult behind the hole, so I may not go for the green in two. Or if I do, I’ll play it from the front bunker because now it’s much more difficult behind the hole.”

Luke Donald said he noticed the slope at the front, right corner of the first green is steeper and there’s a subtle nob at the back of the sixth green.

“You have to do your due diligence in practice,” Donald said. “You have to make sure that the greens are breaking the same way as the lines you’ve drawn in your book.”