Even More Of Jack On Augusta

Several writers filed comprehensive stories on Jack Nicklaus' criticism of changes to Augusta National.

Some of the comments appeared in Doug Ferguson's story yesterday, and all came from a press conference Nicklaus held at The Bear Club to plug (I think) something related to the 20th anniversary of his Masters win.

Showing just how highly he thinks of these inkslinger gatherings, Jack donned shorts with loafers and no socks.Q-15NJACKSC-5658_o.jpg

Anyway, here is some of the new stuff, including bits that David Westin of the Augusta Chronicle picked up from Tiger's web site and from Mike Weir at Bay Hill.

Woods, a four-time Masters champion, played the latest "new" course for the first time Sunday and shot 2-under-par 70, he said.

"It definitely played longer," Woods said on his Web site. "It will be a big challenge if the golf course plays fast."

"I love Augusta, don't get me wrong," Nicklaus said. "And all I want for Augusta is to be Augusta and be the best it can be because it's such a great event.

"But when they take the golf course and limit the number of people who have the ability to win ... their intention is not to do that, but they're doing exactly that."

"They're making the long holes really, really long," Nicklaus said. "They are frustrated, as I am doing my courses. They're trying to figure out how to compete with the length of the golf ball."

Weir played Augusta National the "last few days," he said Tuesday at the Bay Hill Invitational in Orlando, Fla., and also had an issue with No. 7.

"I didn't think they needed to do anything to it (the course), but I don't mind the added length," Weir said. "The only hole I don't think they needed to lengthen was No. 7. That green is not built for a 4-, 5-, or 6-iron."

Safe to say that No. 7 sounds silly. Of course,most people could have told Hootie this change was a bad idea. Except apparently, Tom Fazio.

Jeff Shain in the Miami Herald was there and put this answer into context:

As Nicklaus discussed his charge from four shots back, he was asked if the ''new'' Augusta could produce a similar run.

He suggested ''about 10 guys'' could pull it off.

''Could Tiger [Woods] do that, or Ernie Els or Vijay [Singh]? Yes, because they have the length to do that,'' he said.

"Could a Mike Weir or José María [Olazábal] or Bernhard Langer or one of those guys of moderate length? Probably not. Not with the golf course today. That's the change at Augusta I have a hard time with.''

 And Ray McNulty had this story on the gathering, with remarks you probably won't read in many other places:

...should the men of Augusta, if only to preserve their course, if only to protect the integrity of The Masters, take the lead in placing limits on the golf ball?

"They would be the only place that could," Nicklaus said.

If you listened closely enough, if you looked into his eyes as he uttered those words, you knew that he wanted Augusta to take a stand.

Even though he didn't actually say it.