Jack Nicklaus, Sergio Garcia, Lee Trevino among Augusta National critics

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CRITIC Frank Beard c. 1977, then a part-time CBS golf broadcaster (his barb came in print, not on the air) CRITIQUE Gary "Body Bags" McCord may be the most famous CBS analyst banned from Augusta, but Beard was the first. His offense: opining that the course had been so altered from its origins that Bobby Jones would "roll over in his grave" at the sight of it. BOTTOM LINE Many believed Beard was in effect rightly praising the course's original design. Chairman Clifford Roberts disagreed, telling CBS to get rid of Beard, which it did.
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CRITIC Tom Weiskopf 1978, sounding off on the difficulty of the course setup for the Masters CRITIQUE "Back in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, alone there are four courses... as good as Augusta. You can go elsewhere, too, and find other courses that play as challengingly without having to resort to putting the pins on slopes and knolls." BOTTOM LINE True, Augusta's greens are insane — "challengingly" even — and his gripe nicely pokes holes in Augusta's mystique. But Weiskopf finished runner-up four times in seven years, suggesting sour grapes.
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CRITIC Martha Burk 2002, during her fruitless campaign to pressure Augusta — and Chairman Hootie Johnson — into admitting a female CRITIQUE "It's a slap in the face to Augusta members who have spoken out asking for this discrimination to end. The rational and predictable course of action would be to get this over with. But Mr. Johnson has shown that he doesn't always take the rational and predictable approach." BOTTOM LINE Whatever happened to freedom of association? Would men be allowed to join Curves fitness club? Still, give the pesky Burk props for pressuring the club to go sans corporate sponsors, and protesting in a muddy field to the jeers of many.
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CRITIC Jack Nicklaus 2006, reacting to the spate of recent course changes CRITIQUE "I think they've ruined it from a tournament standpoint." The Golden Bear wasn't the only one to pipe up after the club stretched the course and gave the par-4 11th hole a makeover. Quipped Gary Player, "What are they going to do in the future, put the tees in the streets?" BOTTOM LINE We like the Golden Bear's bluntness, and it packs an extra punch coming from a man with six green jackets in his closet. But did he need to add "from a tournament standpoint?" Like a good putting stroke, sometimes less is more.
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CRITIC Lee Trevino 2009, echoing comments he has made throughout his career CRITIQUE "The tournament is the eighth wonder of the world. I watch it every year, but it's not a great golf course. Never was a great golf course. It's a great venue, it's got a tremendous amount of history, but as far as a great golf course, it is not." BOTTOM LINE Trevino says he played the course longer than anyone else because all the dogleg-left holes had the cut-fade specialist always working away from the greens. But is that the course's fault? Questionable logic, but delivered with zeal nonetheless.
6 of 6 Rob Carr/AP
CRITIC Sergio Garcia 2009, after shooting a Sunday 74 on a damp Augusta layout CRITIQUE "I don't like [the course], to tell you the truth. I don't think it is fair. Even when it's dry you still get mud balls in the middle of the fairway. It's too much of a guessing game." BOTTOM LINE Garcia, who finished T38, apologized for his remarks two days later. The statement of apology, allegedly from Sergio, used the word "iconic" to describe the course, which we love, but this was not the Spaniard at his petulant best.