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Billy Payne hasn't decided if Augusta is going to replace the Eisenhower Tree

By Geoff Shackelford

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne addressed the media Wednesday and said no decision has been made about replacing the 17th hole's Eisenhower Tree.

"We do not yet have a definitive plan as to what, if anything, we will do to the 17th hole beyond this year's tournament," Payne said. "We are closely examining play and scoring on the hole this week, and will make after careful observation and consideration."

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Payne revealed that he was bone fishing in the Bahamas when he received news of the ice storm's damage. Payne rushed back to meet with the club staff and several arborists brought in to determine if the tree could be saved before the club ultimately decided to remove the iconic loblolly pine.

As for replacing the tree, Payne acknowledged that he has been reading media suggestions for how to move forward with the 17th hole, but said he has not received any direct suggestions from members or players.

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