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Jones’ views on Augusta's 13th should guide change
There’s been a lot of talk recently on the possible lengthening of the 13th hole at Augusta National (“Augusta takes long view of iconic 13th,” April 11). The club has acquired property from neighboring Augusta Country Club behind the current 13th tee, and Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley has obliquely suggested the hole might be lengthened.

Dr. Alister MacKenzie, Augusta National’s architect, called the 13th hole “ideal,” and, indeed, it’s a beautiful hole that doglegs along a creek on the left which then swings along the front of the green, putting it in play on the drive and on the approach shot. At least that was the intent.

Today, the Masters contestants are driving the ball so far that the hole often requires only a middle-iron second shot to the green. The mysteries and nuances of the hole are being overwhelmed by improved equipment and the ball.

Club co-founder Bob Jones described the analysis, risks and rewards which have made the hole so interesting over the years to contestants and the galleries alike, thusly: “The player is first tempted to dare the creek on his tee shot by playing in close to the corner, because if he attains his position he has not only shortened the hole, but obtained a more level lie for his second shot. Driving out to the right not only increases the length of the second, but encounters an annoying side-hill lie.

“Whatever position may be reached with the tee shot, the second shot as well entails a momentous decision whether or not to try for the green. With the pin far back on the right, under normal weather conditions, this is a very good eagle hole, because the contours of the green tend to run the second shot close. The chief danger is that the ball will follow the creek.”

Jones viewed No. 13 as a par 4½ and, in fact, liked shortish par-5s to temp the golfer, with a penalty for failure. Thirteen is one of the best.

Jones saw this as a thinking-player’s hole. If moving the tee back will bring into play the features Jones admired so, then by all means move the tee back. Or better still, dial the ball back, reduce distance and bring back original intent.

John Fischer
(Fischer, a retired attorney, is a golf historian who is a past president of the Golf Collectors Society and a longtime member of the USGA’s Museum and Library Committee.)

Ridley should accept evolution in golf
Does Fred Ridley, the chairman at Augusta National Golf Club, have insider knowledge of the research and recommendations that the governing bodies, the USGA and R&A, may share about the study of their conundrum with distance? (“Augusta takes long view of iconic 13th,” April 11).

Is his statement that ANGC will wait on making any changes to Augusta pending the report telling? Hmm.

Now is it disingenuous the USGA and R&A rule makers may backtrack on their specifications for clubhead size and ball speed? Didn't the tie-and-coat guys realize that athletes in all sports are getting bigger, faster, stronger? And they can't legislate that.

The USGA and R&A may want to review their respective charters. They are to set the standard for all golfers. Focusing on the professional game seems contrary to the mission.

Does the average golfer want a rollback in the specifications? Are we worried that our home course will become obsolete because we hit it longer? I don't think so.

It would not bother me a bit to hit an iron into a par 5. Is it wrong that the pros do? Or is it evolution?

Equipment manufacturers may find bifurcation is a dirty word.

Dave Richner
St. Johns, Fla.

There’s more to golf than Tiger Woods
Is Gary Van Sickle that obsessed with Tiger Woods? (“Woods looks, feels good, but is it enough?” April 12).

In a way, I feel sorry for Woods. People will watch the first round of a golf tournament and say “Woods is in the hunt!”Woods looking as good as ever!”Woods in contention!” But when he doesn’t win, then everybody, including Van Sickle, will say “Tiger just not the same,” “Tiger can’t finish” or “Tiger just another golfer.”

I like Tiger. I think he was the best golfer in the world and arguably the best golfer ever. But not today, and certainly not in Thursday’s first round of the Masters.

Report about the golfers at the top of the leader board. I don’t care if the only reason people watch golf is because of Woods. When he quits playing professional golf, where are those people going to be? If they care only about Woods, then they don’t care about golf. If the golfing industry is trying to promote golf, then it (and Morning Read) had best look at other players and other avenues to get people interested.

Golf got popular because of Tiger Woods, you say? Not on my tee box. I was playing golf before he was born, and today my daughters play golf and have never heard of Tiger Woods. Those young girls (and boys), not Woods, are the future of golf.

Kenneth C. Taylor
Fort Worth, Texas

Who knows?
Inquiring people want to know about the Masters and Augusta National:

Has any player ever hit a ball into the fairway bunker on No. 10?

Is a patron one who patronizes?

Are players fined for saying certain expletives?

Why doesn't anyone shout “Baba Booey”?

Are there any fish in the ponds?

Why do the rules officials wear coats and ties?

When will Ian Woosnam be stopped at the gate?

Since when do poor shots stay on the bank at No. 12?

Did Patrick Reed's father kidnap him?

Why did I bet on Justin Rose?

When will John Daly be allowed to set up a tent on the course?

Jim Kavanagh
St. Augustine, Fla.

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