For those who don't know, Fred Ridley is the head honcho at Augusta National and today he had his annual press conference where he shares ANGC's thoughts on the state of the game of golf, what innovations they're bringing to this year's Masters, and what type of philanthropy the Club has been up to. Inevitably, the issue of Bryson Dechambeau and his evergrowing prodigious distance was a major topic, and he didn't mince his words that ANGC is ready to put up their dukes.
This is far from a new issue for the Club. After Tiger came through like a hurricane and ripped the place apart in '97 and added back-to-back titles in '01 and '02 with his ridiculous length (and all-around game), the Club knew they needed to make some changes to meet his game and the wave of improved fitness and equipment that followed. A course that measured roughly 6,900 yards for the entirety of its existence was lengthened an extra 300 yards in 2002 by Tom Fazio and has since been extended little by little to the 7,500 yards it is now.
The issue that the Club foresees is that what BDC is doing is so far and above what anyone could have anticipated, and there's simply not enough space for them to go longer without comprising some of the original design philosophies that each of the holes were built upon. They can keep moving the 13 tee back, but the further back you go, the less that iconic dogleg maintains its identity. Same goes for #11 and so many of the other holes around Augusta National.
Right now Bryson is hitting tee shots in his practice rounds that's leaving him a pitching wedge into both #11 and #13. ANGC sees that as a mockery of their golf course and they're very much in wait and see mode to see how much it materially affects their crowned jewel of a tournament. Whether it be changing their course or tightening equipment regulations or rolling back the golf ball, everyone knows that Augusta National can flex their muscles within the golf community to get what they want. If they don't like what they see from Bryson this weekend, they won't get pushed around for long. Stay tuned.