Only two years after its last major overhaul, Augusta National will undergo another. Masters chairman Hootie Johnson, citing the distances players can drive the ball, conceded last week that "four or five of our par-4s are a little weak" and said architect Tom Fazio will alter them before next April.
Focusing on the par-4s is shrewd because the 6,985-yard National's par-3s and par-5s, though short, provide the most drama. Johnson didn't specify which holes will be changed. The most obvious candidates would appear to be the two shortest par-4s, the 350-yard 3rd and the 365-yard 7th, but both require exacting approach shots. Lengthening them would eliminate an element of artistry from the course. Instead, look for changes, marked in yellow, on the following holes.
The big fairway bunker is easily carried, leaving a short iron in.
Move the tee back 20 yards to bring the bunker into play and tighten the landing area. If you lay up, you'll have a semiblind midiron approach from an uphill lie.
Like the 5th, the 11th used to be one of the best par-4s in golf, but today's players can carry their drives to the downslope, leaving a short pitch to the green.
With the tee moved back 10 or 15 yards, a player won't get as much roll on his drive and will be left with a midiron approach. As in the old days, the pond to the left of the green will be scary.
The hole used to be feared because it demanded a four-or five-iron approach to a difficult target, but now long hitters cut the dogleg and hit a wedge in.