The Loop

Dent Can't See a Short Hitter Winning

April 10, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Augusta native Jim Dent is no doubt surprised to see short-hitting Heath Slocum three under par through eight holes and leading the Masters after two hours of play. Dent says the recent changes at Augusta National have all but eliminated short hitters from contention. "They've added over 200 yards," said the 12-time Champions Tour winner who caddied at both Augusta National and Augusta CC as a teenager. "That's awful tough for everybody but the big hitters."

Dent, 68, who never qualified to play in the Masters, was hanging out this week at The Patch, an Augusta muny known for low-stakes matches among former caddies and mini-tour players.

"Back in the day those [Augusta] greens were Bermuda and a lot easier to putt," he said. "Now you can get in some spots where you're lucky to keep the ball on the green."

Dent, scheduled to play in the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am in Tampa next week, wouldn't predict a winner, but he gives the edge to long hitters with deft touch around the green--kind of like himself.

--Pete McDaniel