Should be fun to see how many writers/players declare the course changes:
A) to have been validated by a Phil Mickelson win/Tim Clark 2nd place finish
B) confirmation that only bombers can win
C) that it rained and therefore it was still too wet to judge
D) that the winning score was 7-under-par, therefore it was a success (always such a nuanced take on things!)
The lengthening of the course has been "validated" because Augusta National would have been terribly outdated had they not responded in some way to the recent optimization boom.
As far as restoring club's that Bobby Jones intended players to hit, there are serious problems with that logic. Not only are lofts different today than when Jones wrote about what players hit into holes, anyone who has read his descriptions knows he was not trying to lay down the law on proper approach clubs. It just wasn't his style.
The narrowness and tree planting designed to force players into less bold tee-shot play (as Hootie Johnson described earlier in the week), has severely impacted that old sense that it was only the players, the design and the Golf Gods dictating the outcome.
Now it feels like a battle between committee and player, with the potential for excitement at the mercy of the committee. That may provide an ego boost for them, but the desire to keep winning scores in check makes it boring for fans.
If they had just added length over the last 8 years but did not add the second cut and trees that eliminate options, would there be any criticism of the changes?
I say no.