Four majors but only one with the je ne sais quoi that the others would miss.
As the US Open, PGA Championship and The Open move to their respective tours, The Masters’ appeal comes not just from tradition, Butler Cabin and the green jacket, but from the fact that for 88 years, it (of course) took place at the same course.
Viewers became familiar with the likes of Tea Olive, Magnolia, White Dogwood and Firethorn, with just four of the holes all named after trees or shrubs referencing the site’s former life as a nursery.
However, slight changes have appeared throughout the story. Like most courses, Augusta slowly added length. They renovated the bunkers, filled them with white sand and, in the early 1980s, redid the greens with bentgrass.
The Masters Media Guide, produced a few weeks before the annual event, is the standard way to convey changes and improvements, and in February we reported significant changes to two of the most famous holes – 11 and 15.
These days, however, we don’t need to wait for the guide to figure out what might be going on behind the closed doors of Magnolia Lane.
Eureka Earth released its aerial view of work in progress on another of Augusta’s infamous holes – the 13th, or Azalea – yesterday and it certainly looks interesting, especially to those used to seeing shots like this piece. infamous from Lefty.
From the photo, it looks like the tee has moved back several yards to form a much narrower drive, much like the player’s view from 18, although it’s impossible to know by how much.
As always, the reaction is very mixed.
Referring to work in progress rumours, one response suggested it wasn’t enough of a change – “I’ll be honest, I thought they were going to move the tee back a bit more”, while another along the same lines suggested Augusta was, “Playing into the hands of the long hitters.”
It wasn’t all about the cynics, however.
Former European Tour player and now well-known commentator and analyst Ken Brown retweeted the photo with the introduction, “Hot news @TheMasters. After years of discussions and land purchases. It looks like a new tee at the 13th…”
Hot @The Masters new. After years of discussions, and land purchases. Looks like a new tee at 13th… https://t.co/EDDRlb2wbq
—Ken Brown…?? (@KenBrownGolf) August 2, 2022
Responses were slightly more positive to Brown’s tweet.
“I won’t go over the corner of this tee,” was one, buoyed by the notion that the renovation was, “Good news if it brings that suspended lie back for a second.”
However, not everyone was wowed by the news of the change.
One opinion was that “masters don’t realize that backing off that tee they’ll put a wedge of sand in their hands for a short 3rd shot and more birdies will be made and no one will fall in Rae’s Creek”, while the final answer at least made a few think about the future.
“Before I die, this course will be 8500 meters Ken, a little sad really.”
The suspicion is that this will certainly not be the last revealing photo of amendments to the major that “never” changes.
Over the 19th hole