The ghost of Bobby Jones told me in a recent interview that he wasn’t happy with the pine trees that had been planted on the right side of the 11th fairway at Augusta National. Well, guess what? Many of those trees have been removed, widening the fairway and restoring the hole’s original shot values. Apparently Jones’s opinion still counts for something.
So I’m just trying to be helpful by passing on a few other suggestions that Bobby’s ghost made while playing the course on a moonlit night in February:
• “Soften the greens,” he said. “Take some speed off. We never intended that the Masters be a putting contest.”• “Remember to treat the spectators with respect. The recent lengthening of holes has cut off pathways and forced spectators to spend lengthy periods waiting for fairway crosswalks to clear. It has become almost impossible to keep up with a pairing for more than a few holes.”• “Get rid of the rough. My co-designer, Alister MacKenzie, made a purposeful decision not to grow rough at Augusta National, and I think his wishes should be respected.”• “Restore the 7th hole. The recent widening of the green is fine, but the 7th was one of the game’s best short par 4s. Now it’s an unimaginative par 4 of 450 yards.”• “Expand the media center so that bloggers don’t have to stack their laptops and take turns using the internet.”
Jones added, “That is what it’s called, isn’t it? The internet?” (Photo illustration by SI Imaging: Al Tielemans (background); Empics/Sportschrome (Jones))