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Tuesday, 7 August, 2001, 22:20 GMT 23:20 UK
Changes afoot at Augusta
Augusta National, hole 10
Augusta has changed its shape to fight technology
Sweeping changes have been made to America's most famous golf course.

In what is considered the biggest overhaul in the 68-year history of Augusta National, nine holes have been altered in an attempt to place a greater premium on accuracy off the tee.

And a total of three hundred yards have been added to the Georgia course that will host next year's US Masters, to counter advances made in golf equipment.

"Our objective is to keep this golf course current," Augusta National chairman, Hootie Johnson, said on Tuesday.

Montgomerie at the US Masters in 1998
All change: Monty must adjust to new Masters era
"Beginning in 1934 and throughout their tenure, [former Augusta chairman] Cliff Roberts and Bob Jones made improvements to complement the changing state of the game.

"We have continued this philosophy."

The official Augusta yardage is now 7,270 yards - up from 6,985 - and four of the course's par fours are at least 460 yards long.

The 18th hole is perhaps the most changed of all.

Its tee box has been moved back 60 yards and fairway bunkers have been enlarged by 10%, so that a 320-yard drive is now needed to carry them.


I think any of us probably hate to see people hitting sand wedges to 425-yard par fours
Hootie Johnson
Augusta chairman
That may challenge even the power-packed Tiger Woods, who will go for his third Masters win in 2002.

Johnson attributed the latest changes to better clubs, better balls and better players.

"I think any of us probably hate to see people hitting sand wedges to 425-yard par fours."

On the first hole, which had been fairly straightforward for the big hitters, the tees have been moved back 25 yards, requiring the club to rebuild the putting green.

One strategically-placed bunker has been extended 15 yards toward the green, so an incoming drive must travel 300 yards to carry.

See also:

09 Apr 01 |  US Masters
Woods makes history at Augusta
02 Apr 01 |  US Masters
The history of the Masters
02 Apr 01 |  US Masters
Magic Masters moments
Links to more Golf stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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