Most golfers consider it sacrilegious to make anything resembling a slight toward Augusta National. In that same breath, while the following from Tiger Woods may convey blasphemy, at its heart is the truth.
In an interview posted on TaylorMade's Instagram page, Woods, owner of four green jackets, was asked his thoughts about the Masters and Augusta National. The 43-year-old was, well, candid about his first experiences with the tournament. Specifically, its layout.
"When I first went there, there were no bunkers," Woods said. "I drove it into the crosswalk on 1. I hit a 9-iron into two. Drove it on the green on 3. Had a sandwedge into 5. Sandwedge into 7. Eight I had a 4-iron. Nine was a sandwedge. Eleven was a wedge. Thirteen was a 3-wood and 8-iron. Fourteen was a 3-wood and a sandwedge. Fifteen was a driver and 8-iron, driver-pitching wedge sometimes. Seventeen was a driver sandwedge and 18 was a driver-sandwedge.
"It really wasn't that hard."
Easy to say from a player who won the Masters by 12 shots as a 21-year-old. But also an observation shared by Augusta National Golf Club, as the property has undergone an extensive makeover since 2002. A makeover that's included lengthening holes, moving tee boxes, adding tress, growing the rough a cut higher and narrowing fairways.
A renovation known by another name: "Tiger-proofing."
The course will feature another change this spring, as the already-formidable fifth hole has lengthened by 50 yards. There will likely be a future alteration to the iconic 13th hole as well, following the club's purchase of land from neighboring Augusta Country Club.
Woods, who begins February as one of the 2019 Masters favorites, has not won at Augusta National since 2005.