Augusta National loses 'Eisenhower Tree'
Mother Nature did what the 34th president of the United States could not: have the famed Eisenhower Tree removed from Augusta National.
In a statement released by Augusta National Golf Club, chairman Billy Payne confirmed the removal during the weekend of the tree named after President Dwight Eisenhower.
“The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept,” Payne said in a statement. “We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible.”
A loblolly pine on the 17th hole named after the former president because he hit it so often, stood about 210 yards off the tee and forced players to either carry the tree or stay right.
“I think for the modern golfer in good weather, (the Eisenhower tree didn’t matter) because they're more concerned with on top of the hill, they're more concerned with putting it onto the seventh green or blocking it into those huge pines down the right,” three-time Masters champion Nick Faldo said. “It's only if we get that cold one that Mike Weir won or the wet ones moons ago, then it was in play.”
Bubba Watson, the 2012 Masters champion, summarized that Augusta National would replace the tree with something else.
“It seems like they'll put a tree or something there,” Watson said after his victory at the Northern Trust Open. “Again, they're not asking me, but that's what I would do if they asked me. I'd say, 'Why wouldn't you put some other kind of tree there or something.' ”
Payne in his statement indicated that the loss of the tree was the only major damage the course sustained from the recent storm and that they would deliberate on the best way to address the loss of the tree, but did not indicate if it would be addressed for this year's Masters Tournament in April.
“I think the tee shot will get a little easier,” 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel said. “Definitely will. It's definitely about the carry. But you've got to keep it up the right side, but it might make it a little easier now.”
The Masters will be held at Augusta National on April 10-13.