An Outlandish Proposal for Rerouting Augusta's Back Nine

Sunday April 3rd, 2016
Relocate Amen Corner? Shuffle holes? You're thinking it's sacrilegious. But if Billy Payne & Co are going to tinker with Augusta National, why not go all in?
Darren Robinson for Sports Illustrated

The Masters brain trust reportedly is considering moving the tee back on the famed par-5 13th hole, a renovation that would come with a $27 million price tag on the land acquisition alone. That got us thinking: Why stop there? How could the back nine be rerouted to give Augusta National the most scintillating finish in golf? Here's how.

No. 10 (same)

Camellia stays put. If it ain't broke ...

No. 11 (old 17th)

We plant a towering tree, and in keeping with the presidential theme, it is renamed accordingly. The Trump Tree would be placed down the right side of the fairway, the Hillary Hemlock down the left.

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No. 12 (old 16th)

Redbud, the picturesque par-3, can bat anywhere in the lineup.

No. 13 (old 18th)

Even with its added length, this par-4 has been pretty ho-hum as a finishing hole. But we're not throwing Holly out; now after climbing the daunting fairway, players will have to get a second wind and prepare for a fantastic five-hole finish.

Even after being lengthened, the 18th hasn't packed much punch as a finisher. But it still merits a spot on the back nine.
Robert Beck for Sports Illustrated

No. 14 (old 3rd)

Say goodbye, Chinese Fir. We're swapping out one of the more mundane designs with that of the former No. 3, adding a forward tee and giving the National the one feature it's been sorely lacking—a drivable par-4. Chalk up an exciting new eagle opportunity to kick off the home stretch.

No. 15 (same)

Don't worry. Firethorn isn't going anywhere. You don't dab lipstick on the Mona Lisa. And wait until somebody goes 2--3 on 14 and 15 on Sunday afternoon.

No. 16 (old 11th)

Golf's most daunting finish commences here, as we move Amen Corner to the end of the round. White Dogwood, quite possibly the hardest hole at the National, kicks things off in its new prime-time location. It's a par-4 so treacherous that Ben Hogan used to aim away from the green to avoid flirting with the pond that guards the left side.

No. 17 (old 12th)

How could Golden Bell, the iconic par-3, get any better? As the next-to-last hole, that's how. The pressure becomes exponentially more intense. Players who are chasing the leader will have to fire at the flag. A birdie 2 is possible, sure, but unpredictable gusts and looming Rae's Creek mean a 5 or a 7 (or even a 13, à la Tom Weiskopf in 1980) is in play. No lead will be safe.

Picture the leader standing on the tee of the new 17th, wind swirling, with the tournament on the line.
Kohjiro Kinno for Sports Illustrated

No. 18 (old 13th)

Our new grand finale is the National's most beautiful hole and the most exquisite par-5 in the world. And so, to give everybody a shot to reach the green in two, we're keeping Azalea at a tantalizing 510 yards. We'll see everything from 3s to 7s, and the ensuing roars and groans will have added significance. The best part of saving Amen Corner for the end is that the Masters can scrap its sudden-death playoff and implement a three-hole aggregate-score format. You want to see the leaders negotiate Amen Corner a second time with a green jacket at stake, don't you? So do we.

En route to victory in 2010, Phil Mickelson threaded a 6-iron through the pines at the 13th and made birdie. Imagine the fireworks with the par-5 as the home hole.
Robert Beck for Sports Illustrated

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