Augusta ice storm puts an end to Eisenhower Tree

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 17, 2014 at 12:21 am •  Published: February 17, 2014
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David Duval, who contended four times for a green jacket at the Masters, played a fade off the tee and had to be mindful of the Eisenhower Tree. Told the news Sunday evening, he was stunned.

"Are you kidding me? That's terrible," Duval said. "That tree made you really pay attention to where you were driving it. It made for a very narrow tee shot. You either had to go up over it or around it."

Duval thought the only tree that got so much attention on a golf course was the original tree near the front of the 18th green at Pebble Beach. That since has been replaced, and there is speculation that Augusta National could do the same.

The club generally can do whatever it wants — except in this case, save Ike's tree.

The ice storm last week caused the tree to lose a significant amount of major limbs. A photo in The Augusta Chronicle showed gaping sections missing from the left side. The club had used cables to help hold the pine together in recent years.

"We have begun deliberations of the best way to address the future of the 17th hole and to pay tribute to his iconic symbol of our history," Payne said. "Rest assured, we will do both appropriately."

Tommy Aaron once lost a ball in the tree. It most recently was mentioned prominently at the 2011 Masters. Tiger Woods was trying to play a shot from the pine straw beneath Ike's tree when he injured his left knee and Achilles while swinging from an awkward stance. Woods wound up missing two majors that year.

Bubba Watson, who can move the golf ball any direction he wants, never had a problem with it.

"Let's be honest — that tree was never in my way," Watson said Sunday after winning at Riviera. "I don't know what they're going to do. They never ask me. But I would think they're probably going to plant something there."

Payne said Augusta National made it through the storm without any other major damage and is open for its members to play. He said the club will not be affected in its preparations for the Masters, which starts April 10.

Players typically start going to Augusta National over the next several weeks for practice rounds.



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