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Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 17:38 GMT 18:38 UK
Augusta course extended
Tiger Woods plays off the fifth hole during the 2002 Masters
Augusta is being refined to keep pace with technology
The Augusta National golf course has been lengthened by 20 yards, it was announced on Tuesday.

The par-72 layout now measures 7,290 yards after the par-four fifth hole was stretched from 435 to 455 yards.

The 2003 US Masters will now be contested on the sixth longest course in major championship history.


The players have accepted the changes or received them with excitement and pleasure
Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson

Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson said: "This improvement continues our commitment to accuracy off the tee."

"Recently, the fairway bunkers did not come into play. This change should once again make the bunkers an integral part of the hole."

Augusta's lengthening for 2003 is likely to meet with a mixed response from some of the game's top players who believe a long layout penalises shorter hitters of the golf ball.

But Johnson defended the changes, saying he had heard only praise from players on the new-look layout.

"Rocco Mediate and Paul Azinger were down here and they could not be more pleased," he said.

"I think they are considered medium hitters, but they could not be more pleased with the changes. They thought the changes gave them a better chance to win.

"They liked the idea of having their six-iron versus a long hitter's eight-iron (for a second shot into a par-four hole), as opposed to their eight-iron versus the long player's pitching wedge.

"I think almost universally, the players have accepted the changes or received them with excitement and pleasure."

Augusta was lengthened by 300 yards for the 2002 Masters, making it the fifth-longest course in Major championship history.

It has since been overtaken by the 7,360-yard Hazeltine, which hosted last week's USPGA championship.


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10 Apr 02 | US Masters
07 Aug 01 | Golf
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