Masters miracle on Good Friday: Toppling trees hurt no one

Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 6:11 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - As patrons were watching golf during the Masters on Friday, the wind kicked up and skies darkened, then they heard a crack.

It wasn’t thunder but a large tree tumbling down between the 16th and 17th tees.

The tree snagged a couple of smaller trees, uprooting them and taking them down, too.

Thanks to the smaller trees breaking the fall of the bigger one, anyone in the path had time to get out of the way. Even though witnesses said they could see chairs and cups under the fallen trees, Augusta National said no one was hurt.

It was all captured in a live sportscast:

“Yeah, so we were on close to the 15th green. Heard this massive sound, really loud like a crack of thunder. Looked over and saw a pretty large tree that seemed to fall,” a witness said. “And then one cracked and all three of them fell down onto where the people were sitting. But luckily everyone got away safely.”

It happened around 4:20 p.m., around the same Augusta National Golf Club suspended play during the Masters and started evacuating the grounds.

It was a terrifying moment for those who were nearby.

“We were just on the other side of 16,” a witness said. “The players had already hit their shots into the green and were getting ready to put more of that already, put their shot out. And then we start to hear cracking noises from across of 17. And they started falling. One started to fall and they start to fall.”

“We were in the grandstands on hole 15. We just heard this loud clap like it was thunder and bam, trees are falling of the ground,” a witness said.


Another witness said: “One big tree came out of the roots on the bottom and took another tree down with it. So it looked like two came down completely, covered the fairway on on 17 and just smoked it.”

The witness said it sounded like thunder.

“It sounded like lightning hit it, and then it took both of them down. It was pretty intense,” the witness said.

The chaos could be heard from farther away.

“We just heard this like this roar of a crowd ... and I look up and this tree, it’s just like slowly going down and then you just see two others follow it,” a witness said.

Patrons depart the course after trees blew over on the 17th hole during the second round of the...
Patrons depart the course after trees blew over on the 17th hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on Friday, April 7, 2023, in Augusta, Ga. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)(Mark Baker | AP)

Around the time the trees came down, Augusta National announced that play was being suspended and the grounds would be evacuated.

Then around 5:45 p.m., Masters organizers issued this statement:

“Augusta National Golf Club can confirm that no injuries were reported from three trees that were blown over to the left of the No. 17 tee due to wind. The safety and well-being of everyone attending the Masters Tournament will always be the top priority of the Club. We will continue to closely monitor weather today and through the Tournament.”

The grounds had already been evacuated once earlier in the day.

Augusta National had suspended play at 3:07 p.m. as bad weather bore down on the area, but play resumed at 3:28. That 3:07 p.m. suspension happened about two hours after weather warning signs went up. A large number of patrons left in a steady exodus after those signs went up.

Rain and storms had been in the forecast for days, casting a literal dark cloud over the tournament.