News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, April 5, 2011
AUGUSTA---Crews at Augusta National have been busy cleaning up storm damage there after heavy rains and strong winds swept through the CSRA overnight.
Sources at the National say they had wind gusts of about 50 miles an hour, and that was too much for one of the massive trees that make up Magnolia Lane.
"It's amazing," said Masters patron Susan Barrow. "They have a lot of work to do."
Susan and her husband Rick spent the day watching the work as they stood in line for a picture at the clubhouse.
"If you look at how large they are--it's still blowing, isn't it? It is!" Rick cried as he watched the trees.
Crews were able to remove most of the old magnolia before the crowds came. All that's left is the stump. Even players paused to look as they made the iconic drive up to the clubhouse.
So how old is Magnolia Lane? The National says most of the giant trees were planted from seeds in 1858. They've survived more than a century of Georgia's worst weather.
Across the course, there are more subtle signs of wind damage. The flags that usually flap in the breeze on the main scoreboard are gone after one of them snapped and fell from its perch.
A big oak tree came down in the woods on the first fairway. Luckily, it fell alongside and not across the fairway.
Back in the picture line next to Magnolia Lane, patron Joe Lane is struck by the history of it all.
"It's sad, because you think, who drove up through there?" he said. "Jones, Hagan, Nicklaus."
Most Masters patrons understand history, right down to the number of trees that make up Magnolia Lane. There were 61.
"61 trees. You get here and you see one is missing. A part of Augusta is missing. Now it's 60."
Once the golfers clear out, we expect to hear the chainsaws starting up again, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the flags back flying on the scoreboard soon.