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My Shot
Pete Dye
April 23, 2001
Lengthening Augusta National is a shortsighted solution to the biggest problem in pro golf
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April 23, 2001

My Shot

Lengthening Augusta National is a shortsighted solution to the biggest problem in pro golf

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Bobby Jones would roll over in his grave if he knew that Masters officials have decided to lengthen Augusta National because players are driving the ball farther. Jones was a purist who, in my opinion, would not agree with any of the changes the club intends to make.

Unlike the other three majors, the Masters is run by a golf club, the Augusta National, which controls everything from who gets invited to how fast you can drive your courtesy car down Magnolia Lane. The club should use its clout to contribute to the game. Only the Masters could require that every player use the same type of ball, a decelerated one, and not have to worry about lawsuits from ball manufacturers.

I don't believe players are hitting the ball greater distances because they're better athletes. If that were true, today's baseball players would be hitting the ball farther than Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth did in their primes. The truth is, pro golfers are longer today because of the equipment. Technologically advanced balls and clubs have taken many great courses in our country out of play. Instead of watching Ben Hogan hit a one-iron to the final green at Merion in the 1950 U.S. Open, we see Tiger Woods hitting a wedge from the 18th fairway at Augusta National. By lengthening the course, the club will make it easier for the longer hitters to win.

Only Augusta National could call the ball makers and say, "Listen, we're going to keep the great characteristics of our course by making sure everyone use the same decelerated ball at the Masters." That's the surest way to bring hazards like the great white bunkers on 18 back into play.

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