If a new picture is anything to go by, big changes are coming to Augusta National – and potentially soon.
Eureka Earth has shared new photos on social media of work going on behind the current 13th tee at the Masters host venue.
The work is on land purchased by the club from neighbouring Augusta Country Club in 2017. It was suspected at the time that it was bought with the intention of pushing back the tee on the 13th – the famous ‘Azalea’ hole – in order to restore the ‘momentous decision’ that course designer Bobby Jones wanted players to face standing over their second shots.
In recent years, the hole has played as one of the easiest at the Masters, with most players hitting a short iron for their second shots. It averaged 4.622 in April, yielding eight eagles, 132 birdies and only 31 bogeys or worse across the four rounds.
Augusta chairman Fred Ridley has previously spoken of his reluctance to change the hole, stating ahead of the 2019 Masters: “Although we now have options to increase the length of this hole, we intend to wait to see how distance may be addressed by the governing bodies before we take any action.”
In February this year, the R&A and USGA outlined a series of
distance-limiting proposals to “help achieve a more sustainable
long-term future for golf", with feedback required from the game’s
equipment manufacturers invited until August 2 this year.
However, if this new image is anything to go by, it appears as though Augusta National has run out of patience waiting for changes to happen.
You can clearly see ground being prepared for what looks like a new tee box around 50 yards further back on 13, slightly to the left of the current tee. As well as lengthening the hole, that move would also likely eliminate the prospect of bigger hitters going over the trees down the left and cutting the corner of the hole.
Of course, this begs a question: is this change actually going to happen, or is it a power-play by the Green Jackets to force the governing bodies’ hand on the distance debate?
Time will tell…