"It's Just Way Less Interesting Than It Used To Be"

masterslogo2.gifOther than Fred Couples, everyone else quoted in this David Westin story for the Augusta Chronicle is not very complimentary of the course changes.

Stewart Cink clearly has given the subject a lot more thought than the average tour player and is characterizing the destruction of the Jones-MacKenzie design ideals quite nicely:

"It's still a very good test, but a lot harder test than it's ever been," Stewart Cink said. "It's just not the gem of architecture that is used to be."

"It's just like an American golf course; it used to be linksy," Cink said. "Bobby Jones really wanted that thing to be linksy. We play courses all year out here where you have to drive it between the rough and you have to hit your ball on the green in a certain way."

And Nick Faldo's satirical take ended up not too far off base:

"I'm sure they can start getting the roads moved around on the outside," three-time champion Nick Faldo said in jest. "I'm sure they've got the power to do that. Buy a few houses."

Little did he know, but Faldo might not have been far off the mark. The club's holding companies own more than 145 acres outside its borders.

Todd Hamilton isn't too wild about the demise of options:

"To me, on a good golf course, on every hole you should be able to pick what shot you want to play," Hamilton said. "You shouldn't be forced to hit a shot."

But back to Cink, who understands the shift from a free-market design approach to Hootie Johnson and Tom Fazio's shallower, dictatorial style:

Said Cink: "Augusta was always a place where you could have a lot of fun and you could demonstrate an artistic talent for strategy around the golf course. Now, it's not.

"No. 11 is a hole where you could hit your drive anywhere you wanted to; you could create your own angle, you could make the hole set up any way you wanted to," Cink said. "That was one of the great things about the old course.

"Now the fairway is probably 30 yards wide because they added trees on both sides. Everybody has to hit the same shot. To me, it's just way less interesting than it used to be."

And Jim Furyk explains how some changes have eliminated temptation:

"The way the golf course is set up now with the length, you can't play that aggressively," Jim Furyk said. "You can't have a 9-iron into the 14th green. Before, you had a 9-iron and I might have a go at a back-left pin. If I had a 6-iron in my hand now, I'd have to be a complete moron to go at it."