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We Liked Ike

Just two months before the 78th Masters tees off on April 10, one of Augusta National’s enduring symbols is gone. The Eisenhower Tree—a 65-foot-tall pine that stood along the left side of the 17th fairway about 200 yards off the tee—finally met its match in the icy winter storms that recently battered the Southeast. The broad pine (visible up the left side of the hole in the photo above) was named for President Dwight Eisenhower, an Augusta member who often hit his tee shot left and found himself stymied by the tree. According to The Masters: A Hole-by-Hole History of America’s Golf Classic, by David Sowell, the tree “caused President Eisenhower more trouble than the Russians ever did.” Ike, who twice served on the Augusta National Board of Governors, even suggested that the tree be cut down. “Clifford Roberts quickly adjourned the meeting before Ike could obtain a second for his motion,” wrote Sowell. Current Augusta Chairman Billy Payne says not to worry. “The golf course sustained no major damage otherwise,” Payne was quoted by the GlobalPost. “We are now open for member play and we will be unaffected in our preparations for the 2014 Masters.” As to what will take its place, “We have begun deliberations of the best way to address the future of the 17th hole,” said Payne, “and to pay tribute to this iconic symbol of our history. Rest assured we will do both appropriately.”

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