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Major Changes Planned for Augusta National

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Each year, officials make alterations to the Augusta National course. Usually the changes are slight. However, in 2002 players will see a dramatic difference to some of the par 4s.
 
We are going to attempt, as we always have, to keep the golf course current with the times, said Augusta chairman Hootie Johnson.
 
The plan is to lengthen the par 4s. A month after this years Masters champion is crowned the changes will begin to take place. Exactly how the holes will be altered has not been determined, but indications are length and repositioning of the tee boxes are the focal points.
 
Johnson said four or five holes will be altered.
 
One of the changes will likely be on the par-4 14th, where the committee could move the tee boxes back some 30 yards; forcing most players to hit a 5- or 6-iron into the severely contoured green, as opposed to a short iron.
 
Officials are also looking at the 18th. They would not only move the tee box back but to the right, which would provide a direct route through the trees and bring the two bunkers down the left side into play.
 
Currently the course is played at 6,985 yards. When asked how many yards would be added after the changes, Johnson said, Probably all we can.
 
Augusta National has a history of changes. In fact, every hole has been altered at least once since the course opened in 1933.
 
The current changes were first considered four years ago, after Tiger Woods demolished the course with a record score of 270 (18-under-par).
 
Two years ago, the tee boxes on the par-4 2nd and the par-4 17th were pushed back 25 yards. They also added a second cut of rough, about half the depth of the golf ball.
 
Since Tigers victory in 1997, the winning scores have been no lower than 10-under-par; Vijay Singh reached that number last year.
 
Despite the spacious fairways and the lack of a severe rough, the greens have always been the great equalizer.
 
Twenty years ago, Augusta changed from Bermuda grass to the bent grass on its greens, which has allowed them to be among the slickest in golf.
 
Yet, officials feel the need to offset current technology by strengthening the course.
 
I think any of us probably hate to see people hitting sand wedges to 425-yard par 4s, said Johnson.
 
Full Coverage of the 2001 Masters