GOLF: Masters to have different feel without infamous tree

By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News

AUGUSTA NATIONAL WILL play a bit differently this week and in years to come without the infamous Eisenhower Tree there to reach out and pluck low-line drive tee shots from the 17th tee.

Snowy, cold conditions plagued much of the American south this winter and the home of the Masters was not spared.

A January ice storm hit the course with such ferocity that the 65 feet tall loblolly pine was unable to be salvaged.

A second smaller pine planted near the Eisenhower Tree years ago was also destroyed in the storm.

Eisenhower’s Tree was named after President and Augusta member Dwight D. Eisenhower’s penchant for smacking the tree with his drives.

As the legend goes, Ike demanded that the tree be cut down immediately during an Augusta National governors’ meeting in 1956,

Clifford Roberts, the chairman and co-founder of the club, overruled the sitting president and adjourned the meeting.

A taller recounting of that meeting has the President being ruled “out of order” for the suggestion.

The tree was estimated to be 100 to 125 years old and was located about 210 yards from the Masters tee in the left center of the fairway.

“When I stood on the 17th tee, my first thought, always, was to stay away from Ike’s Tree, period,” Jack Nicklaus told media members after learning the news.

“I hit it so many times over the years that I don’t care to comment on the names I called myself and the names I might have called the tree. Ike’s Tree was a kind choice. But looking back, Ike’s Tree will be greatly missed.”

Improvements in technology and fitness in modern-day pro golfers had removed much of the tree’s punch but players with low-ball flight trajectories like Jim Furyk would still get caught up in the branches.

Even Tiger Woods and his booming tee shot wasn’t spared the ill effects of a tangle with its dangling limbs.

A 2011 drive caught in the tree and Woods injured his Achilles tendon and a knee attempting to wallop an approach shot from the pine straw.

The awkward swing caused him to miss four months, including the next two major championships.

A balky back will keep Woods from Augusta this year but he was asked about the loss of the tree earlier this spring.

“I can’t say some of the guys are going to miss it,” he said “But we are going to see a difference.”

TV coverage slated

ESPN has the honors for the Masters first and second rounds.

Live coverage will run from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday on ESPN.

CBS takes over for the weekend with Saturday’s coverage running from noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday’s final round airing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Streaming video is also available at masters.com.

Brown scramble set

The four-person Brad Brown Memorial Scramble fundraiser is set for Friday at Port Townsend Golf Club.

Cost is $50 plus green fees and proceeds will fund scholarships for high school seniors.

Tee time is noon and lunch is included.

Spring Fling slated

Port Townsend’s Men’s Club Spring Fling and Steak Feed golf tournament will tee off at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Cost for the two-person scramble is $35 plus a super-reduced green fee for nonmembers.

A steak dinner will follow play.

Port Townsend pro Gabriel Tonan said that weekly skins games at the course are getting bigger. each week.

Skins games are available on Thursdays and Saturdays and the cost to participate is $10 plus green fees.

Save the date in May

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula’s 23rd annual golf tournament and fundraiser is planned for SunLand Golf & Country Club on Friday, May 9 (the Friday of Irrigation Festival).

The four-person scramble event will include lunch and then 18 holes of fun for a great cause.

Presenting sponsor is 7 Cedars Casino and the lunch sponsor is Olympic Ambulance.

Other sponsors are being sought. If interested, contact Janet Gray at the Sequim Boys & Girls Club at jgray@bgc-op.org or by phoning 360-683-8095.

Two for price of one

Discovery Bay is running a two-for-the-price-of-one green fees special Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout April.

The course is also running a weekend skins game starting at 9 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

________

Golf columnist Michael Carman can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5152 or pdngolf@gmail.com.

Last modified: April 08. 2014 5:57PM
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