Augusta will wait for R&A, USGA before changing 'Amen Corner'

Masters logo (File)
Masters logo (File)

Augusta - Augusta National Golf Club has never been afraid to make changes in the cause of furthering tradition, but chairperson Fred Ridley admits he'll tread extra carefully when it comes to altering "Amen Corner".

The iconic trio of holes 11, 12 and 13 - with Rae's Creek winding through them - have been linked in Masters lore since Sports Illustrated writer Herbert Warren Wind coined the "Amen Corner" name in a 1958 article.

But the 510-yard, par-5 13th isn't the challenge it once was to the long bombers of today's game.

"The momentous decision that I've spoken about, and that Bobby Jones often spoke about, of going for the green in two, is, to a large extent, no longer relevant," Ridley acknowledged Wednesday as he spoke to reporters on the eve of the Masters.

While extra land purchased by the club could offer the option of lengthening the hole - as the par-4 fifth has been lengthened this year - Ridley said Augusta National would wait and see what the Royal & Ancient and US Golf Association decide to do about limiting distance in the game.

"Amen Corner is a sacred place in the world of golf," Ridley said.

"I am hesitant to move too quickly in that regard.

"My preference would be to see what happens, what the governing bodies decide is best for the game, and we will take appropriate action in response to that."

Ridley said he realised the issue of distance "presents difficult questions with no easy answers" but one solution he didn't expect to see was the introduction of a special "Masters ball" that wouldn't fly as far.

"I think it's very unlikely that we would ever produce a Masters ball," he said, adding that there were "a lot of options" for making the course more difficult without lengthening it.

"But we have to face the reality that quite a few of these players hit the ball prodigious distances," he added, "and we do have to deal with that."

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