Augusta National Getting Even Longer

By Associated PressJune 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
Augusta National is getting another facelift. The home of the Masters announced changes to six holes on Tuesday, lengthening the course to a staggering 7,445 yards - the second-longest layout in major championship history.
 
Only Whistling Straits, which played at 7,514 yards for last year's PGA Championship, has presented golfers with a longer challenge.
 
The Masters
The par-3 4th hole - currently 205 yards - will be lengthened by 30-35 yards.
Augusta National underwent a major renovation leading up to the 2002 Masters, altering nine holes and adding 285 yards to the historic course designed by Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie.
 
It wasn't enough to fend off today's long-hitting golfers, who have benefited from improvements in conditioning and equipment. Augusta National, which refuses to turn its rough into a U.S. Open-style quagmire, must rely on length and slick, tricky greens to keep scores from going absurdly low.
 
Club chairman Hootie Johnson insisted that no one has been scoreboard-watching at Augusta.
 
'Since the first Masters in 1934, this golf course has evolved and that process continues today,' Johnson said in a statement. 'As in the past, our objective is to maintain the integrity and shot values of the golf course as envisioned by Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie. Players' scores are not a factor. We will keep the golf course current with the times.'
 
The club is altering three holes - Nos. 1, 4 and 7 - on the front side and three more - 11, 15 and 17 - on the back.
 
The tee at the par-3 fourth will move back 30-35 yards, lengthening the hole to about 240 yards. The club was mindful of the late Jones' assessment in 1959, when he said the hole should require a long iron or even a wood. This year, most competitors teed off with a 5- or 6-iron.
 
'We want to keep the hole as it was intended to be played as a long par 3,' Johnson said.
 
Then there's No. 11, which leads into 'Amen Corner' and will become the first par-4 hole in Masters history that stretches beyond 500 yards. With the tee shifted back 10-15 yards, the hole will measure about 505 for next year's tournament.
 
Again, Jones' desires - 'the second shot is usually played with a 3-iron or strong club,' he once wrote - prompted the club to toughen the hole.
 
At its former distance, some players were going for the green with an 8-iron. Now, even the longest hitters will be forced to use at least a 6-iron with their second shot.
 
As for the other changes:
 
-No. 1: The tee will be moved back 15-20 yards, trees will be added to the left side of the fairway to require more accuracy with the driver, and the par-4 hole will stretch to 455 yards.
 
-No. 7: Adding 35-40 yards will transform the par-4 hole into a 450-yarder. Also, the green will be altered to create a possible right-rear pin position, while trees will be added along both sides of the fairway. 'At Nos. 1 and 7, we want to emphasize accuracy off the tee while continuing to maintain the integrity of the holes,' Johnson said.
 
-No. 15: The par-5 hole will be stretched to 530 yards by moving the tee back 25-30 yards and shifting it about 20 yards to the left.
 
-No. 17: The tee box is going back 10-15 yards, lengthening the par-4 hole to about 440.
 
'The changes on the second nine holes again stress accuracy off the tee and maintaining shot values,' Johnson said.
 
Construction work began this month, while the club is closed to golf for the summer. The changes should be completed by the fall.
 
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Woods: New putter should help on slower greens

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:35 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods’ ice-cold putting showed at least a few signs of heating up earlier this month at The National, where he switched putters and ranked seventh in the field on the greens.

The mallet-style putter is still in the bag as Woods prepares for The Open, and he’s hoping the heavier model with grooves will prove valuable at Carnoustie.


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“To be honest with you, I’ve struggled on slower greens throughout my entire career,” Woods said Tuesday. “So for me, it’s going to help on these greens, for sure.”

To combat the slower greens, Woods usually applied a strip of lead tape to his putter. But this heavier model of putter doesn’t need the extra weight, and the grooves on the putter face allow the ball to get rolling faster and hotter.

“You don’t necessarily have to do that with the grooves,” he said of the lead tape. “When I putted with the Nike putter, I didn’t have to put lead tape on the putter to get a little more weight to it. I could just leave it just the way it was. This is the same type.”  

For all of the talk about his putting woes this season, Woods still ranks 56th in strokes gained: putting. More crucial this week: He’s 102nd in approach putt performance, which quantifies how well a player lag putts.

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Woods: Open best chance for long-term major success

By Ryan LavnerJuly 17, 2018, 11:26 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods is more than a decade removed from his last major title, but he said Tuesday that The Open is the major that gives him the best chance for long-term success.

“I would say yes, because of the fact that you don’t have to be long to play on a links-style golf course,” Woods said during his pre-tournament news conference. “It certainly can be done.”


Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Woods pointed to the late-career success for both Greg Norman (2008) and Tom Watson (2009), both of whom challenged for the claret jug deep into their 50s.

“Distance becomes a moot point on a links-style golf course,” he said.

That’s certainly not the case, however, at the Masters, where bombers long have thrived, or the U.S. Open, which places a premium on long and straight driving.

“You get to places like Augusta National, which is just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately,” he said. “But links-style courses, you can roll the ball. I hit a 3-iron that went down there 330. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”

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"Vantage Point with Mike Tirico" set to debut Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsJuly 17, 2018, 10:15 am

Special Hour Complementing the Network’s Week-Long Golf Central Live From The Open News Coverage; Premiere Scheduled to Include Interview with 2014 Open Runner-Up Rickie Fowler On-Site from Carnoustie

Features Include Tirico and Curtis Strange Re-watching ’99 Open at Carnoustie & Jim “Bones” Mackay Facilitating Exclusive Conversation with Caddies Michael Greller, John Wood Recounting Final Round Pairing at 2017 Open

To help set the table ahead of The 147TH Open at Carnoustie, Golf Channel will premiere Vantage Point with Mike Tirico on Tuesday, July 17 at 9 p.m. ET. An extension of the network’s week-long Golf Central Live From The Open comprehensive news coverage, Vantage Point will revisit landmark moments in The Open’s history, uncover personal stories relevant to the fabric of the week and feature a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year” on golf’s original championship.

“It’s a thrill to be going back to The Open again this year, which is a fitting setting to launch this new opportunity,” said Tirico, NBC Sports host who this week will celebrate his 22nd consecutive year covering The Open. “I love being a part of the Golf Channel team during golf’s biggest weeks, and anticipate contributing to our commitment to great storytelling with Vantage Point.”

Kicking off the premiere of Vantage Point will be Tirico’s exclusive interview with 2014 Open runner-up and 2015 PLAYERS champion Rickie Fowler on-site from Carnoustie. One of Fowler’s favorite events, he has missed just one cut in eight previous appearances at The Open. Other highlights within the show include:

  • Jim “Bones” Mackay facilitating an exclusive conversation between caddies Michael Greller (Jordan Spieth) and John Wood (Matt Kuchar) recounting the final round pairing at The Open last July.
  • Tirico hosting a roundtable discussion with past “Champion Golfers of the Year”: David Duval, Tom Lehman and Justin Leonard.
  • A recollection of one of the most unforgettable collapses in major championship golf, when Jean van de Velde surrendered a three-shot lead on the 72nd hole in 1999 at The Open. Tirico and Curtis Strange – both on the live tournament broadcast that year for ABC/ESPN – recently re-watched the telecast together for the first time since calling it live.

 

“This is harder to watch than I thought it was going to be. I’ve never seen anything like

that in my life. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that again.” – Curtis Strange

 

“I think I got caught up in the whole deal and felt human for the guy.” – Mike Tirico

 

Vantage Point with Mike Tirico will complement the network’s Golf Central Live From The Open, which will feature nearly 60 hours of comprehensive news coverage from Carnoustie. In total, NBC Sports will dedicate more than 350 hours to showcasing the third men’s major championship of the year, including nearly 50 live hours of the network’s Emmy-nominated tournament coverage – annually the most live hours of coverage from any golf event – spanning from Thursday’s opening tee shot to Sunday’s final putt.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 17, 2018, 8:40 am

Tiger Woods is competing in his first Open Championship since 2015. We're tracking him this week at Carnoustie.