If You Could Change One Thing . . .


If You Could Change One Thing . . .

April 07, 2013

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

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

Get Rid Of The Rough

Last year the rough was a bit heavier than it was in previous years. It made me think how much I'd prefer it if there were no rough at all. With rough, it's left to chance whether your ball sits up -- you can get great lies in Augusta's rough, you know -- or whether it sinks down. There's an element of chance with that. Having no rough would not make the course easier (because shots hit off-line would run into other trouble), but it would return it to being unique.-- Padraig Harrington

Allow Cell Phones On The Course

I wouldn't mind them allowing cellphones one day early in the week. Monday or Tuesday would be perfect. The Masters is always very concerned about how their policies will affect the players, and in this case I don't think the players would mind one bit. Think how proud people would be to show their pictures off to their friends and family and how many emails would be sent out with those pictures attached to them. It would be cool to give the people, many of whom have come great distances and at high expense, a chance to create even more permanent lifetime memories.-- Mike Weir

Turn Back The Clock

I 'd like to be able to move the Masters back to the 1960s and '70s. Naturally, I'm referring to a period during which I could play, and it's simply because I had such a great time during that era and loved it so much. It was also such a special period for Augusta National. And while we're at it, can we bring back 1986, too?-- Jack Nicklaus

Shorten The Course

I think they've crept up the tee on the seventh hole about five yards a year the last few years, so maybe even Augusta thinks it's too long.-- Bubba Watson

Reverse The Mowing Pattern

Reversing the mowing pattern wouldn't necessarily make the course play better, but for me it would make it easier, and I'm all for that. It's not because I need my tee shots to go a lot farther; I have enough length. It's the shorter shots that are hard when you're hitting into the grain. You have to hit them just perfect to pull them off.-- Keegan Bradley

Keep Conditions The Same All Week

It's incredible how much the course changes from practice rounds to what I see on Thursday. Early in the week the ball behaves normally. When the tournament starts, the ball suddenly is running everywhere, into the first cut and places you don't anticipate. I'm not sure the mowing schedules are the same throughout the week. If they're not, they should be.-- Ernie Els

Make The Course Easier

I last played the Masters in 2005, and from what I saw of the golf course, I was happy I wasn't going to be playing there anymore. It was ridiculously hard, way too long and very confining as to what shots you needed to play well. In my best years as an active player the course never suited my game very well. (After an opening 79 in 1986, however, Price set the course record in the third round with a 63, matched by Greg Norman in 1996.) I couldn't hit a 3-iron straight up in the air. The addition of the first cut of rough late in my career took away my advantage as one of the straightest drivers on tour. The way the slopes on the greens repelled my iron shots away from the hole made me just another player because it was just too demanding. Look: I love the town of Augusta, the club and the Masters. But I dislike the course the way it's set up.-- Nick Price

Firm The Greens Up

They've softened up the greens a little the last couple of years and made them a little too slow. I've never thought the greens there were particularly scary. They used to be very fast and firm, especially when guys were hitting 8-irons and wedges into the par 5s. But when they lengthened the course, they softened the greens to accommodate the longer clubs we hit into them. I'd guess they stimp out at about 12, although they look quicker because there's so much tilt to them. But they could run faster. Remember, the hole locations aren't on the slopes, they're on compartments that are pretty flat. So they could be a little faster with no worries about the greens getting out of control.-- Jason Dufner

Shorten The Seventh Hole

I wish no. 7 (now 450 yards, up from 360 in the '90s) could be made into a short hole again. It really was one of the best short par 4s in golf. For most of us it was a 3-wood off the tee followed by a sand wedge, which you had to be really precise with. It wasn't easy, but you had a chance to pick up a birdie if you played it well. Now I beat on a driver and still have a 5-, 6- or 7-iron left. It used to be hard but fun. Now it's just hard.-- Steve Stricker

Eliminate The Rough

I'd like to see them get rid of the first cut and go back to no rough anywhere on the course. Holes would play differently. The second hole (a dogleg-left par 5 of 575 yards) is a good example. As it is, players bomb it as far as they can, knowing that if they hook it a bit, the first cut will stop a ball from going into the water to the left. If you took the rough away, there would be more of a premium on accuracy. A lot of players could still reach the green in two, but they'd have to do it by getting the tee shot in better position. At the end of the day you'd see just as many birdies and the same winning score but with a different -- and better -- way of getting there.-- Brandt Snedeker

Flatten The Greens

I 'd flatten the whole course because it's always been too hilly for me. But since you can't flatten the whole thing, I'd level out the greens. All of them. They're just too severe. They may look big, but they really aren't because there are only a few spots flat enough where you can put a flag.-- Lee Trevino

Keep The 10th Hole Dry

For some reason, the 10th fairway is wetter than the rest. Even when the weather is dry, that fairway is damp. It's not the distance it adds to the tee shot that makes it difficult, it's that the ball picks up mud. Finding mud on your ball is no fun.-- Henrik Stenson

Shorten The 11th Hole

One day of the four, it would be neat to see the tee moved up on No. 11 (a 505-yard par 4). It's such a long hole. I rarely have less than a 5-iron for my second shot, and it's a dangerous one because of the water left of the green. I've never been in a group where somebody dared to go right at the flag. Just one day, players should be encouraged to go at the flag a little more freely, with a 7-iron or maybe even less. The only way to do that is to shorten the hole. It still wouldn't be easy, but it definitely would be more exciting.-- Hunter Mahan

Mow The Opposite Direction

When the fairways are damp, which is most of the time, the balls pick up mud. That's because they mow from the greens toward the tees, which causes the ball to dig. When the fairways are wet, I'd mow from the tees toward the greens, so the ball will skid and then roll a little.-- Bernhard Langer

Toughen Up The Par 3s

I 'd put that Sunday hole location on No. 16 back on that top-right shelf. Make it a real tough par to interrupt the birdie-fest. Then you could lose the tournament there, not just win it. If you're in that back bunker, it's a bogey at best, maybe a double. But if you hit the middle of the green, you have a putt for birdie, and you can do what Jack did in 1975 -- hole a 40-footer for birdie. Another change: Build a new tee on No. 12 that makes the hole one or two clubs longer. The way it is, unless the wind is blowing, it's just an average par 3. Guys today are so accurate, and modern balls go through the air so well, that it isn't all that dangerous. Maybe having them hit a 6-iron instead of a 7- or 8-iron could make it pretty exciting.-- Rocco Mediate

Take The Emphasis Off The Tee Shots

I 'd like to see the fairways conditioned the way they were in about 2000. Back then, the inside parts of the fairways -- the lines you took when you wanted to be aggressive -- were cut with the grain running away from you. Aesthetically it was better, and it played better, too. Today, they mow so you're hitting into the grain. They've added trees and rough. It's made Augusta a first-shot course, with a huge premium on the driver, length especially. I'd like to see it go back to being a second-shot course, a more traditional one before they changed the mowing pattern.-- Luke Donald

Get Rid Of The White Sand

The bunker sand is so white and reflects so much light. It plays beautifully, but on sunny days the glare is pretty tough on us blue-eyed boys who don't wear sunglasses. I also don't think it's natural-looking sand for this part of the country. It can be tough to make out the green and flag. My understanding is, the rest of the year they use a darker layer of sand underneath the white stuff. I've thought of mentioning this, but I think I know what the answer would be: "Well, then, Mr. Appleby, we suggest you stay out of the bunkers."-- Stuart Appleby

Add A Family Parking Lot

I wouldn't mind a good family parking lot. Every year we drive the family car to Augusta from our home in Atlanta. We're told, "We have a parking lot for you, with a shuttle." Every Thursday night, I hear from my wife, Lisa: "The shuttle didn't come."-- Stewart Cink

Make The Course Shorter

Make the course shorter, around 6,900 yards, like it used to be. Where No. 11 isn't a par 5 dressed as a par 4. Bring back the balata ball, and clubheads no bigger than 240cc. Now, these things will never happen, and I'm not too serious when I say they should. It will always be the No. 1 tournament in the world. But these ideas would make it better. And I can dream, can't I?-- Chris DiMarco

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