"The changes are better than I thought," said Mike Weir, the 2003 winner. "I would like to see them shorten the rough just a little more, especially on No. 11. Other than that, the changes are great."
Padraig Harrington, who couldn't escape damaging double bogeys, said the course "played great" and put a premium on execution, the way it should be.
"The difference between a shot coming off and not coming off is a birdie to double bogey," he said.
Davis Love is a golf course architect when he's not playing major championships around the globe or on the PGA Tour.
"I like the changes," he said. "As an architect, I have some suggestions about the trees."
The opening tee shot, Love said, "is perfect, it fits."
I really disliked the Butler Cabin ceremony at Augusta. I always felt that the best thing to do would be to go right to the public presentation of the green jacket, with emotions still at a fever pitch and all the people and a national TV audience there to see it. To go inside the flower-infested catacombs of the Butler Cabin and watch the club chairmen perform the ceremony they were helpless — really let the air out of the balloon. One year Hord Hardin asked Bernhard Langer how he pronounced his name. Another year he asked Seve how tall he was. I would watch this with my face in my hands, but the club wouldn't have it any other way. Oh, well. FRANK CHIRKINIAN