Masters: Changes to No. 5 at Augusta National, 'It's just a long hole'

Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Masters: Changes to No. 5 at Augusta National, 'It's just a long hole'

Masters

Masters: Changes to No. 5 at Augusta National, 'It's just a long hole'

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AUGUSTA, Ga. — The early verdict from those testing out Augusta National’s lengthened and remodeled fifth hole: looks eerily similar, plays shockingly long.

“It’s the most beautiful hole on the golf course,” Fred Couples said. “It’s longer, but it’s spectacular. It’s an outstanding hole.”

Rickie Fowler, the runner-up here in 2018, noted the lengthening but also the simplicity of a hole now at 495 yards instead of 455. He was asked how much imagination would be required.

“I don’t think you need a whole lot there,” Fowler said. “It’s just a long hole.”

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He was more specific about changes at the green complex expected to be confirmed and explained by the club when Fred Ridley addresses the news media on Wednesday.

“Other than the front pin, I think you’re still trying to hit it in towards the middle part of the green,” Fowler said.  “It will be interesting to see with that left pin if they do use it.  Now, short is actually a good leave to that pin, versus long.”

Bryson DeChambeau raved about the changes, starting with an improvement in pace-of-play due to a separation from the fourth green. But he was more astounded by the possibility of approaching a par-4 with a mid-iron.

“There are times you’ll have a 6‑iron, 5‑iron in,” he said. “A lot of guys were hitting hybrids yesterday and I’m pretty impressed with that; it was a little into the wind. It’s difficult.”

He added, “Overall, I think it’s a great design change.”

Justin Rose offered the most astute observations from a design standpoint, noting the added difficulty to the already more difficult front nine.

“If you can get it through six holes even par, it’s a great start,” he said. “That’s going to be even more so this year, given the fifth hole changing. I hit driver, 4‑iron today and hit a good drive.”

The original design concept of No. 5 emphasized a ground game approach, but in recent years the short iron approaches all but eliminated that notion. Rose says it may be back, depending on firmness.

“Where the hole was just short enough before where you were always hitting a mid‑iron, 7‑iron, 6‑iron, and always trying to land it up on the top for the most part,” Rose said. “Only if you were out of position were you having to run it up that ridge.

“I think the extra length, you might see more links style running shots. That’s how I see the design of it, anyway.  Whether the conditions allow that, we’ll see.”

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