First Payne Reviews*

A somewhat encouraging start to the Billy Payne era:

"I think we have it just about right now," the 58-year-old Georgia native added. "We remain hopeful as that some limitations will be placed on equipment that will diminish the gains in distance.

"I think we have the golf course as like it right now."

Augusta National, controversially extended by 285 yards for the 2002 U.S. Masters, was stretched to 7,445 yards for this year's tournament, making it the second longest in major championship history.

Payne said limited changes would be made for the 2007 Masters, with the tee boxes on the 11th and 15th holes lengthened by five to seven yards.

"The length of the tees on the other par-fours averages about 20 yards," he added. "Those two holes are only about 15 yards long and this will provide us with more flexibility if the holes are playing into a substantial headwind."

In the only other changes for next year, the fairway on the par-four 11th will be widened around the 280-yard mark to help medium-length hitters while grass under the newly-planted trees flanking the right of that hole will be replaced by pine straw.

That's a nice start. Of course, just leaving the grass and taking out the trees would have been even better!

And an interesting comment about equipment restrictions. It will be nice to read the transcript to read his complete remarks.