Eisenhower Tree, R.I.P.
By Torleif Sorenson on 2/16/14
The most famous loblolly pine tree in all of golf is no more:

Augusta National Golf Club's famous "Eisenhower Tree" was shredded in the winter storm that ripped through Augusta last week.

Club chairman Billy Payne broke the news in a prepared statement:
Like so many of our family, friends, and neighbors in this community, Augusta National Golf Club has been busy cleaning up after the historic ice storm last week. Everyone affected remains in our hearts and prayers, and we likewise hope for a speedy and complete recovery for all.

The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept. We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible.

We have begun deliberations of the best way to address the future of the 17th hole and to pay tribute to this iconic symbol of our history — rest assured, we will do both appropriately.

I can report that the golf course sustained no major damage otherwise. We are now open for member play and we will be unaffected in our preparations for the 2014 Masters Tournament.
The tree got its name from club member and 34th President of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower, who often hit into the tree during his rounds there. At a now-famous club governors' meeting in 1956, then-President Eisenhower proposed cutting down the tree. Augusta National co-founder Clifford Roberts ruled the American president out of order and adjourned the meeting.

The tree was estimated to be between 100 and 125 years old, and made the tee-shot at 17 especially difficult for some players. The 1973 Masters champion Tommy Aaron once lost a ball in that tree and it didn't fall until the next day, when he walked past. Tiger Woods suffered knee and Achilles' tendon injuries in 2011 when he squatted to hit a shot from the base of the tree. In 1999, José María Olazábal hit a punch 5-iron from the base of the tree to the green, helping him prevail over Greg Norman and win his second Masters Tournament.

This is been an especially bad week in the Augusta region; first they suffered the terrible winter storm on Tuesday and Wednesday, then residents were jolted by a Mw 4.1 earthquake on Friday night.

Usually when bad news in golf breaks, it is due to the death of a notable person. This is the first time your correspondent has been shocked by news of the loss of a tree.

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Image via Twitter, Scott Michaux

[ comments ]
legitimatebeef says:
Tiger Woods probably won't be mourning--that 17th hole has given him major problems over the last few years.
joe jones says:
I think the tree no longer presents a problem to touring pro's. Members thats probably another story.A fader would have to avoid the tree but a draw would put the tee shot in play.
slimpks1850 says:
My first thought was... that trees not even in play for today's pros. yes/no?
[ post comment ]
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