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