The Masters

If You Could Change One Thing . . .

Players have their say on everything from how the course plays to how it's mowed

April 2013
The Masters

Augusta National/Getty Images

Critiquing the Augusta National Golf Club course and the Masters is a more difficult exercise than it was even five years ago. From hole designs to agronomy, from pairings sheets to parking, the shine on the diamond seems to be practically complete. From its inception in 1934, the Masters has fielded ideas for making the course and tournament better from practically every quarter. It was a spectator -- ahem, patron -- who in 1956 recommended that numbers on the big on-course leader boards be operated from behind, rather than in front, so as not to block views. The next year, it was done. Members were a frequent source, particularly in the early days. One member, identified as Clarence Schoo in David Owen's book The Making of the Masters, suggested to chairman Clifford Roberts that a ditch running across the first fairway be filled in, which it was, in 1951 -- whereupon Roberts promptly sent poor Schoo the bill. Numerous architects have been consulted, TV executives have always had their input, and let's not discount the ideas that germinate from within the central brain trust.

The most celebrated source, however, has been players. Ben Hogan originated the idea of the Champions Dinner, which began in 1952, and in 1957 he was responsible for the greenside bunker being added to the right of the par-5 15th hole. Horton Smith, Gene Sarazen and Arnold Palmer were behind other course changes. But even with Augusta National and the Masters being so refined, we queried a number of prominent players and posed the question: What one change to the course or the tournament would you make if you were so empowered? Herewith, their ideas..
Critiquing the Masters: opening the gates to Augusta

Let The Fans In Earlier

Let the fans through the gates just a little earlier, especially the first two rounds. I've been to the course early and have seen people racing to get to their favorite spot. I've heard that on Thursday, there's barely enough time for people to get in place to see the honorary starters. They're so excited, they don't want to miss a minute of anything. It's a long day, but for those who want to get there early, why not let them in?

-- Jason Day
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe to Golf Digest
Subscribe today