There is a lot of discussion today about whether or not Augusta National should lengthen the famous 13th hole. Many traditionalists are opposed to the idea and I was to when I first read about it. I have had a love affair with the Augusta National and the Masters Tournament since my teens.
I wish I had a dollar for every hour I have spent at Amen Corner and for every pimento cheese sandwich I have eaten. I started going in my teens when tickets were easier to come by and you could buy practice round tickets at the gate. I have gotten to watch Jack and Arnie play the 13th in their prime and I didn’t initially like the idea of making it longer until I read a comment that was made recently by Jack Nicklaus.
“The tee shot at 13 would be helped by a little bit of length. Yeah, I think it would be. I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Nicklaus said. “Guys now take it over the top of everything, or take a 3-wood even over the top of everything. I used to be able to do that, too, but the trees were about half the size.”
“I think with the length the guys hit the ball today, it’s a little easier than it needs to be,” he said. “It’s not really a par 5 the way it is. It is, but it isn’t. And I would think a little length would not hurt that.”
The hole played as short as 465 yards when Jack was playing and now measures 510 yards which is par four lengths by today’s standards. You have people like Rory McIlroy hitting 9 irons for his second shot and Bubba hit SW last year.
It now plays as the easiest hole on the course in relation to par and I would enjoy seeing people think about risk and reward when going for it in two with longer clubs. That is the way it used to play.