Australia’s first Masters champion Adam Scott insists Augusta National’s famous 13th hole should be left as is.
Many of those contesting this week’s WGC Cadillac Championship in suburban Miami have been quizzed on strong rumours Augusta National is buying up property in the area at the back of the 13th tee with a view to extend the hole by almost 50 yards.
The par-five, known as Azalea, played to 510 yards when Scott became the first Australian in the 77-year history of the event to be fitted with the famous green jacket three years ago.
If correct, the mooted changes will not be in place for next month’s 30th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus’ 1986 Augusta triumph, but possibly in time for the 2017 Masters.
But Scott says Augusta National should leave the 13th as is and this despite is playing as the second easier a year ago when Jordan Spieth equalled the 72-hole championship record.
“I think it’s fine the way it is and I’m happy with where it’s at,” he said.
“I personally wouldn’t mind if it’s longer. It probably suits me and a few others maybe more than most. (But) I don’t think it’s an absolute must change at all.
“The hole’s a great hole. It’s provided so much excitement. I’m not really sure what their motivation to lengthen it would be, other than just to have a struggle around the corner.
“Also it has to be one of the best par 5s in the world. For me, it’s my favourite hole at Augusta.
“So if it gets changed, I hope it only gets changed for the better. I really don’t know if lengthening it would be better or not. But I don’t want them to change any more of the character of that hole, because it’s beautiful, strategic, challenging, all those things that you want in a golf hole. I think it’s just a great golf hole the way it is.”
But reigning Masters champion Jordan Spieth, who spent last Sunday and Monday playing the Georgia golfing gem before his title defence starting on April 7, says it would be “advantageous” to him should the 13th tee be moved back.
“I saw via Twitter or something that someone had posted there were rumours about them changing it, but then I didn’t ask any questions (when I was) there,” he said with a grin.
“It’s probably better not to ask questions there. (Laughter).
“I think it’s nine (the ninth hole of adjoining) Augusta Country Club right there, so there would obviously have to be some form of re-routing.
“Either way, if it were lengthened, I would find it advantageous to me, because instead of busting driver into the pine straw like I typically do, I’d actually find the fairway and make the longer hitters have to hit it further right.
“Still, you have to hit a great shot to be in the fairway and you have to hit two fantastic shots to be on the green in two there. From where the tee is now, I think it’s a great hole. It’s one of the best in golf. I didn’t think so when Bubba’s shot ended up landing in the fairway in 2014. I said there’s no chance there.
“But last year, I enjoyed it a bit more. I think it’s cool.”
The hole, then the fourth, was first played as a 480-yard par five in the inaugural Masters in 1934. By then the 13th, it was actually shortened to 470 yards in 1955, then ripped back to 485 yards in 1976.
It was shortened again to 465 yards when the green was rebuilt for the 1984 Masters, then that figure was revised to 485 yards a decade later with subtle changes, including the growth of trees.
In 2001, another section of land was bought off the Augusta Country Club and it has been played at 510 yards most years since with any small changes reserved for the other end of the hole.