Tiger Woods, Fred Couples, Rory McIlroy, Fowler on Changes to Augusta National

There have been a lot of changes to Augusta National over the years. Many modifications were made after Tiger Woods burst onto the scene, winning the Masters in 1997 by 12 shots.
Tiger Woods - The Masters
Tiger Woods - The Masters / Warren Little/GettyImages

“Every tee box has been changed since the first time I played. Every green has been changed,” Woods explained to media. “Two's been lengthened a little bit. I think it's 313 or 311 from the plate to the bunker.” 

Woods said the first time he played was as an amateur in 1995. He recalled having a 60-degree wedge into the first green. He was able to get to the second green, which is a par 5, with an 8-iron.

Those days are long gone because of changes made to the course after Woods won his first Masters.

“Everyone is talking about No. 2,” Fred Couples, who won in 1992, said about the hole that has changed the most for 2024. “It kind of looks awesome. Maybe you're a little more to the left where you can't like cut it way down there. I mean, the length is there.”

Rickie Fowler is back again this year, and noticed several things are different.

“Obviously there's a few changes. I know they made a few tweaks here from year to year, but with 13 being back and the resurfaced 2, 4, 6, and 6 they've made both top and right a little bigger,” he said about the differences he had seen.  

Tiger Woods noted the alterations to the course in several locations.

“Four’s been resurfaced,” he said. “Some of the putts -- they have widened the top right of it. The bottom, the back left is a little bit steeper. Some of the putts from the bottom move a little bit differently.” 

Rory McIlroy pointed out one or two differences he noticed.

“Some of the areas surrounding the greens have become a little sharper. So, like, the drop-off after the left side of the 3rd green, for example, that drop-off is sharper,” he said. “The back right of the 6th green now, that fall-off is sharper.”

He also saw what he called “sharpness to the edges of the green compounds.”

That characteristic, he said, was particularly noticeable at the 11th green. According to McIlroy, it makes it trickier to chip and penalizes a miss more around that green.  

Woods also commented on the 6th. He said it has more room on the top right of the green and the elevation of the back of the green.

“So that little chip shot we had is a little bit different now, over the back part of the green,” he said. “It doesn't feel like that you're crowded with two people on top of that shelf. There's a little bit more room now.”

While those changes are new this year, Woods also recalled hitting different clubs into other holes in years back. 

“I drove it if the in crosswalk on 9, and 17,” he said. “So, there was a lot of 60-degree sand wedges. I had pitching wedge into 15. That doesn't exist now.”

Fred Couples played Augusta National on Sunday.

“I told the amateurs that I was playing with just don't look -- just follow me and just walk all the way to the back of the 18th tee and now turn around, and the one guy just couldn't believe it,” he explained. “I mean, it's a tunnel. I think 18 is probably one of the greatest holes in golf now.”

Couples, a long hitter during his career, told his fellow golfers that last year in the tournament they were hitting 3-woods into 18 because the wind was into them.  

“But if it's dry and they move the tee back, it's one of the greatest finishing holes -- trying to make a par to win this thing would be amazing,” Couples concluded. “I don't know if there's any holes maybe they need to lengthen. I really don't.”

No one in the field today remembers when the 10th hole was adjacent to the fairway bunkers, but it was. The green was moved back many years ago.

The changes for the 2024 Masters are not radical. The biggest change was made in the 1930s.

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That was when the club decided to switch nines in November of 1934, apparently due to frost near Rae's Creek, and the course has played that way ever since.