What will it take to win the 2010 Masters? Have recent changes at Augusta National taken the shorter hitters out of contention? Those were two of the questions discussed recently by six-time Masters champion Jack Nicklaus. A video of Nicklaus’ comments on the topic is posted to the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA) website at www.asgca.org.
“I was basically a power hitter, but power was never a major part of the game. Technology has made power 80 percent of the game, where power was 10 – 15 percent of the game when I played it,” noted Nicklaus, commenting on how technology has affected the game of golf during ASGCA’s 64th Annual Meeting in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Joining Nicklaus on the panel were ASGCA members Mark McCumber, Steve Smyers and moderator Doug Carrick.
“You take guys of Gary Player’s length, Ben Hogan’s length—a medium length hitter—it’s really made it very, very difficult,” he continued. “When Mike Weir won the Masters after they made changes on that golf course, incredible. Mike Weir hit 50 percent of the greens in regulation. In past history of the Masters, they hit at least three-quarters of the greens, so his chipping and putting are phenomenal. So, that’s the only way a shorter hitter is going to win, and I don’t think that’s right.”
Regarding changes from an architectural standpoint, Nicklaus also said that “Bobby Jones (Augusta National architect) would not like what they did at Augusta; they changed the philosophy of the golf course. Did they do the right thing for what’s happening in technology today?”