Really sad news out of Augusta.
The recent ice storms (two in two weeks!), not to mention an earthquake that shook the area this past weekend, has taken a toll on one of golf's most famous landmarks. The iconic Eisenhower Tree has suffered major damage and was removed over the weekend. That's right, golf's most famous pine tree - for decades guarding the left side of the 17th hole - is no more.
The Eisenhower Tree got its name because the former President and Augusta National member had a famous disdain for it. Apparently, he used to hit it quite often (it sits about 200 yards off the tee boxes) and he famously lobbied to have it removed. The limits of presidential lobbying stop at the gates apparently as club chairman Clifford Roberts overruled his efforts, thus linking the president and the tree forever.
Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National and the Masters, released a statement Sunday:
“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.”