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ANGC chairman defends changes to course

Hootie Johnson kept his cool at the Augusta National Wednesday, but he was very forceful in defending the changes to this legendary golf course.

The changes were major ones.

6 holes became longer, tighter and tougher since last year's tournament.

Some say the Augusta National has become a bomber's course.

"You can say it's a bomber's course," Johnson said, "but if he's gonna really bomb it...if he doesn't execute perfectly, he's gonna pay a price."

Hootie Johnson has already paid a price. Former champions have been critical of the changes. Is it a case of them being wrong and him being right?

"That's a loaded question," Johnson laughed. "We're comfortable with what we're doing with the golf course."

What they're doing is trying to keep up with better equipment.

"It's like it's just a kind of gradual thing that keeps moving out on us. The club head gets bigger, the ball goes farther."

And with technology changing so fast, what will this course look like in 10 years?

"Wow," Johnson said. "I don't know what it's going to look like next year."

One thing does seem certain: one of the most famous holes on this legendary course appears to be safe...for now.

When asked, "Will you ever change 12?" Johnson replied, "Not while I'm chairman."

A lot of golf purists will be relieved to hear that.

But if you think about it, Amen Corner has already been changed.

The tee on number 11 has been moved even farther back into the woods, and the fairway has been tightened with trees to make the lead in to Amen Corner even tougher.


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