This year, the Masters will play on a newly lengthened Augusta National. Most observers see this as a desperate attempt to defend the historic course from the modern-day long hitters. So-called "Tiger Proofing", the only thing that it really accomplishes is to eliminate short-hitters from ever being competitive.
Master grouchy golfer Jack Nicklaus concurs:
I know what Augusta is trying to do. Whether they've gone overboard, I'm not sure. But they've eliminated a lot of guys who are able to do that. Could Tiger [Woods] do that? Or Ernie Els? Or Vijay [Singh]? Yes. Could Mike Weir or Jose Maria [Olazabal] -- one of those guys of moderate length -- could they do that? Probably not. That's the change at Augusta I have a hard time with.But I think that Hootie et al would love to have you think that they modified Augusta solely to "Tiger Proof" it. They are a are a bit more clever and sinister than that. I believe that they lengthened Augusta to eliminate a future threat. Just imagine if you were Hootie or one of his henchmen. What would be the worst thing that could ever happen at your beloved Masters? It would be some girl donning the Green Jacket!
Unthinkable just a couple of years ago, the possibility of a woman competing in the Masters has been raised by the emergence of Michelle Wie. In fact, Wie has often stated that her dream is to play in the Masters someday. While she's a long shot at best to ever win it (let alone to ever get there in the first place), I think that Hootie wants to eliminate the possibility altogether. Hootie realizes that while he can't prevent her or any other female über-golfer from qualifying into the Masters, he can lengthen the course so that no female has a realistic chance to ever win it.
"Wie Proofing" may sound a bit absurd but it's about as absurd as most actions taken by the dictators of golf. Unfortunately, this last bout of mania could have the worst impact on my favorite golf event. That said, look for Tiger to win by 2 strokes.