Augusta National, The Masters- 2014

The big course change/update this year is the absence of the Eisenhower Tree, which was probably the most famous tree in golf and one of the most famous landmarks in golf.

The Eisenhower Tree in 2011.
The Eisenhower Tree in 2011 at Augusta National, Augusta Georgia.

The tree  was a loblolly pine. It stood about 65 feet  tall and was located on the 17th hole at the Augusta National Golf Club, approximately 210 yards (190 m) from the Masters tee on the left side of the fairway. It was estimated to be 100 to 125 years old at the time it died.
The tree was named after President Eisenhower, an Augusta National member.  Ike hit the tree while playing golf so many times that, at a 1956 club meeting, he proposed that it be cut down. Not wanting to offend the president, the club’s chairman, Clifford Roberts, immediately adjourned the meeting rather than reject the request. The tree was linked to Eisenhower ever since.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne released a short statement confirming the demise of the famous tree (via Golf Channel): “The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept. We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible …”

The Eisenhower Tree before and after the February 2014 ice storm.  It has been completely removed from the 17th.

In 2011, Tiger Woods was playing a shot from underneath the Eisenhower and damaged his left knee and Achilles tendon when he slipped on some pine straw. The injuries sidelined him until August 2011 and his world ranking dropped to 58th.

Woods under the Eisenhower Tree in The 2011 Masters Tournament.

Augusta National Golf Club is a private with a restricted membership list, and many fans know the course well. The course was formerly a plant nursery and each hole on the course is named after the tree or shrub with which it has become associated. Here is a tour of the course, hole-by-hole.  2014 Masters- Augusta National Golf Club course guide

The  Masters Tournament, is one of the four major championships in professional golf, and the only major played each year at the same course.  It is also the first major of the season, played in early April.

Sources:   Wikipedia- Augusta National Golf Club

SBNation: Eisenhower Tree Removed

ESPN: Ike’s tree lives only as a memory

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The Masters Golf Tournament, at Augusta National

Augusta_National_Golf_Club,_Hole_10_(Camellia)
The Masters at Augusta National, Augusta, Georgia

Each spring, the Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National draws millions of TV viewers. The unique tournament usually provides challenging competition and athletic drama.  The Masters is even more special for those lucky enough to be able to attend the event in person and has been sold out for years.  (See more info on this below) Here are some interesting facts about Augusta National that they may not tell you on TV.

Info below shortened and taken from an online article, link included at the bottom of this list.
Green Jacket-  The Green Jacket came about for a very simple reason. In the tournament’s early years Augusta National members were encouraged to wear the jacket so patrons would know who to ask questions. Secondarily, when a member hosts guests in the clubhouse, the green jacket designates who gets the bill.
Cheap badges- A badge that allows you to see four competitive rounds will cost you $200—$50 per round.   In 1934, a badge was  $2.20 ($2.00 + .20 cents tax)
Junior Admittance– Children of all ages must have a ticket to enter the grounds. On Tournament days only, a child between 8 and 16 years of age, accompanied by the patron of record (the person whose name is on the Patron List) may obtain a complementary ticket for that day. As a reminder this is limited to one child per day for the patron of record only.  Patron Info

Of course, the stories are legend about how long it takes to get a Masters pass—years. Families will them down to generation after generation. Each year the badge has a unique design and artwork.  Here is a link which has images of all past Masters Tournament Badges.

Careful with commentary–  More than 40 years ago, during one tense moment, CBS commentator Jack Whitaker used the term “mob” to describe the scene around a green. The Masters leadership let his bosses know that he wouldn’t be invited back, and he wasn’t.  Of course, there were Gary McCord’s famous lines about “bikini waxes” and “body bags.” It’s been 17 years. He hasn’t been back, either.  McCord doesn’t care

Patrons (spectators) enjoy the Masters!

Polite fans- They are not fans. They are not a crowd or even a gallery. They are patrons. You’ll hear it often during the CBS broadcast. Also, while on the grounds, patrons are told not to run. Walking only.

Icing the Azaleas-  the site founder Bobby Jones selected was a nursery, so the flora is amazing, to say the least.   If an early spring comes, grounds crew will put ice under the azaleas to slow down their blossoming. They want everything in full color come Masters week. (Note: They cannot control rain, however. Yet.)

The Masters menu, low prices!

1980 prices for food and beer:  It used to be pimento cheese  sandwiches, but now there’s bbq, chicken and others—each for about $3. A beer costs under $3.

Grounds crew keeps the course perfect!

Small field of golfers, large maintenance crew-  It’s the smallest major field—only 99 competitors compared to the 156 in the other three majors. Following the second round, the low 44 scores, plus ties and any golfer within 10 strokes of the lead advance to play the on the weekend.  (making the cut)  That means for Saturday and Sunday the field will be anywhere from 44 to 55. Get there early enough you will find more than 60 people working on the course, mowing, raking, edging, etc.

Augusta National bad for golf?- Of note, there are many who think this does the golf industry a disservice by showing a course so luxurious, verdant and immaculate. It’s a standard that any other course cannot meet, much less your local municipal.  (Augusta has almost unlimited resources for maintenance and the course is closed half the year.)  Article on the topic:  HERE

Limited playing time-  Augusta National closes in late spring and doesn’t open again until fall. Part of this stems from its origins in the mid-1930s. Jones wanted it to be a “national” club, meaning members live all over the country to play. For business executives from the Northeast, the winter was the best time to play.  During that no-play period during the summer, Augusta National undertakes projects to improve the course…..  “This club changes something in this course every year, and they never tell you about it.”

Cheap golf-  It’s one of the best-kept numbers in sports—the initiation fee to Augusta National. With barons like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, among others, as members it goes without saying that money isn’t the object. And it isn’t. To join is reportedly under $100,000, which might be one-tenth of other high profile clubs in the country.  And if you were lucky enough to play the course with a member, you can probably afford it. Guest fees are said to be about $40.

Fine wine  Augusta National is presumed to have one of the best private wine cellars in the world, buying the best French, Italian, American and Australian wines on futures. Those glasses of wine that tasted so good during dinner came from bottles that run $1,000 apiece, and more.

The Masters: 10 Things They Don’t Tell You About Augusta National on TV: `

More info and links

Waiting lists for badges:  Beginning in 2012, Augusta National Golf Club announced it would begin making a small number of tournament tickets available for purchase through a random drawing following online registration, directly from Augusta National. Each year, a small number of tickets are returned to ANGC following the deaths of longtime ticket holders, or other reasons. Previously, those tickets were simply removed from circulation. But since 2012, fans can register online to take part in a random drawing for those tickets. To do so, golfers much register on the tickets page on Masters.com; registrants receive notification when the ticket application process is opened each year, shortly following each Masters tournament. The number of available tournament tickets is not listed, but rest assured the number is very small and your odds are very, very long. Link for Masters Ticket Info.

Prior to those announcements, tickets to tournament days (rounds one through four) had not been available from the Masters Tournament directly to the general public since 1972. That year, Augusta National Golf Club opened a waiting list, but due to demand the waiting list itself had to be closed in 1978. (Practice-round tickets have been available) Twenty-two years later, in the year 2000, a new waiting list was opened. But it is now also closed.

Augusta National Golf Club-  located in Augusta, Georgia, is a famous golf club. Founded by Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts on the site of a former indigo plantation, the course was designed by Jones and Alister MacKenzie and opened for play in January 1933. Since 1934, it has played host to the annual Masters Tournament, one of the four major championships in men’s professional golf, and the only major played each year at the same course. It was the number one ranked course in Golf Digest’s 2009 list of America’s 100 greatest courses and was the number ten ranked course on Golfweek Magazine’s 2011 list of best classic courses in the United States, in terms of course architecture.

The golf club’s exclusive membership policies have drawn criticism, particularly its refusal to admit black members until 1990, a former policy requiring all caddies to be black and its refusal to allow women to join.   In August 2012, it admitted its first two female members – Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore. The golf club has defended the membership policies, stressing that it is a private organization.  Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augusta_National_Golf_Club

Patron behavior rules-

  • No running anywhere on the grounds.
  • No sitting on the grass near the greens.
  • No bare feet (even when sitting down).
  • No chairs with arms. No folding chairs. No flags. No signs. No banners. No coolers. No strollers. No radios.
  • No standing in officially designated sitting areas. No sitting in the standing areas. No cameras. No rigid chairs. No hats worn backward. No metal golf spikes. No outsize hats. No carts. And absolutely no lying down anywhere . No fanny packs larger than 10 inches wide, 10 inches high or 12 inches deep (in their natural state).
  • No ladders.
  • No selling a Masters badge within 2,700 feet of an Augusta National gate.
  • No walking through a driving gate.
  • No recorders.
  • No periscopes.
  • No outside food.

Things you will not see at Augusta National:

  • No Crowding- There is no crowding at the Masters because the club limits the number of entrance badges sold to keep the attending masses manageable. A four-day badge will go for as much as $5,600 on the secondary market, which means there is also no complaining. Badges are included in many wills.
  • No membership applications- The club has no membership application process; if someone asks to join, the unified retort is, No chance.
  • No cellphones
  • No Yelling- At the Country Club of No, because the atmosphere is reserved and austere, no one shouts “You da man!” after a golfer’s shot, another pleasant outcome.
  • No weeds-  there are no weeds at the Masters, to the naked eye, on the more than 350 acres that play host to the tournament.
  • No litter- There is no litter because at least one maintenance employee is assigned to each quarter-acre, and should someone attempt to carelessly discard a food wrapper, an employee dashes over and snatches it before it hits the ground. It is then deposited in a garbage receptacle
  • No large wildlife- There are squirrels and birds. But a high protective fence around the entire tract keeps out larger animals, spurned as unwanted interlopers. A few years ago, when a deer ran across the eighth green, spectators gasped and pointed, and the local newspaper ran a picture of the animal. People who have been coming to the Masters since the 1950s said they had never seen a deer on the course.

Links and articles used in this post:

Tiger Woods is out for the 2014 Masters

Tiger Woods will miss the 2014 Masters and his chance at a 5th Masters title and the accompanying green jacket!  Read about it HERE

The 2014 Masters:  http://www.masters.com/en_US/index.html

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods (born December 30, 1975)] is an American professional golfer who is among the most successful golfers of all time. Currently the World No. 1, he has been one of the highest-paid athletes in the world for several years.  See some of his impressive achievements below. (Most taken from Wikipedia, see links at bottom of post)

Childhood Achievements:

  • He was a child prodigy, introduced to golf before the age of two, by his athletic father Earl, a single-figure handicap amateur golfer
  •  At age three, he shot a 48 over nine holes over the Cypress Navy course
  • Before turning seven, Tiger won the Under Age 10 section of the Drive, Pitch, and Putt competition, held at the Navy Golf Course in Cypress, California.
  • He first broke 80 at age eight
  • In 1984 at the age of eight, he won the 9–10 boys’ event, the youngest age group available, at the Junior World Golf Championships.
  • He went on to win the Junior World Championships six times
  • Tiger first defeated his dad at the age of 11 years, with Earl trying his best. Earl lost to Tiger every time from then on
  • First broke 70 on a regulation golf course at age 12
  • At the age of 15, Woods became the youngest ever U.S. Junior Amateur champion (a record which stood until it was broken by Jim Liu in 2010)
  • In 1993, Woods won his third consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur Championship; he remains the event’s only three-time winner
  • In 1994, at the TPC at Sawgrass in Florida, he became the youngest-ever winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship, a record he held until 2008 when it was broken by Danny Lee
  • Graduated from Western High School, in Anaheim, CA in 1994 at age 18, and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” among the graduating class.

College Career- Golfing at Stanford University

  • He enrolled at Stanford in the fall of 1994 under a golf scholarship, winning his first collegiate event, the 40th Annual William H. Tucker Invitational, that September
  • He was voted Pac-10 Player of the Year, NCAA First Team All-American, and Stanford’s Male Freshman of the Year (an award that encompasses all sports)
  • Woods participated in his first PGA Tour major, the 1995 Masters Tournament, and tied for 41st as the only amateur to make the cut.
  • At age 20 in 1996, he became the first golfer to win three consecutive U.S. Amateur titles and won the NCAA individual golf championship

Professional Career

  • Woods became a professional golfer in August 1996, and immediately signed deals with Nike, Inc. and Titleist that ranked as the most lucrative endorsement contracts in golf history at that time
  • Woods turned professional in 1996, and by April 1997 he had already won his first major, the Masters, becoming the tournament’s youngest-ever winner.
  • The 1997 Masters in a record-breaking performance, winning the tournament by 12 strokes
  • He first reached the number one position in the world rankings in June 1997.
  • In the 2000 U.S. Open, he broke or tied nine tournament records in what Sports Illustrated called “the greatest performance in golf history,” in which Woods won the tournament by a 15-stroke margin .
  • Through the 2000’s, Woods was the dominant force in golf.

Fall from the top- From December 2009 to early April 2010, Woods took leave from professional golf to focus on his marriage after he admitted infidelity. His many extra-marital indiscretions were revealed by several different women, through many worldwide media sources. This was followed by a loss of golf form, and his ranking gradually fell to a low of No. 58 in November 2011.

Back on top-  Ended a career-long win less streak of 107 weeks when he captured the Chevron World Challenge in December 2011. After winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25, 2013, he ascended to the No.1 ranking once again.

Tiger’s Golf Records:

  • He has been world number one for the most consecutive weeks and for the greatest total number of weeks of any other golfer.
  • He has been awarded PGA Player of the Year a record eleven times
  • Leader of money list in ten different seasons.
  • Has won 14 professional major golf championships, the second highest of any player (Jack Nicklaus leads with 18) and 79 PGA Tour events, second all time behind Sam Snead, who had 82 wins.
  • He has more career major wins and career PGA Tour wins than any other active golfer.
  • He is the youngest player to achieve the career Grand Slam, . Additionally, Woods is only the second golfer, after Jack Nicklaus, to have achieved a career Grand Slam three times.
  • Is the youngest and fastest to win 50 tournaments on tour
  • Woods has won 18 World Golf Championships, and won at least one of those events in each of the first 11 years after they began in 1999.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiger_Woods

Official Website: http://www.tigerwoods.com/home

 PGA Tour- Tiger Woods:  http://www.pgatour.com/players/player.08793.tiger-woods.html