Potential changes could be coming to Amen Corner

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Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley says that they are considering changes to the 13th hole because it 'does not play as it was intended to play'

The 5th hole has only just been extended by 40 yards for the 2019 Masters, but Augusta National's Chairman Fred Ridley says they are already looking ahead at potential changes to final hole of Amen Corner. 

Ridley says that they continue to study the idea of future enhancements to the course, which includes 'much‑talked‑about changes, potential changes, to the 13th hole.' 

"It should come as no surprise to any of you that we continue to study other enhancements to the golf course," said Ridley during his press conference on Wednesday. "That includes much‑talked‑about changes, potential changes, to the 13th hole.

"Admittedly, that hole does not play as it was intended to play by Jones and MacKenzie. The momentous decision that I've spoken about and that Bobby Jones often spoke about, of going for the green in two, is to a large extent, no longer relevant.

"Although we now have options to increase the length of this hole, we intend to wait to see how distance may be addressed by the governing bodies before we take any action. In doing so, we fully recognize that the issue of distance presents difficult questions with no easy answers. But please know this: The USGA and The R&A do have the best interests of the game at heart. They recognize the importance of their future actions. You can be assured that we will continue to advocate for industry‑wide collaboration in support of the governing bodies as they resolve this very important topic.

The tee for the 5th hole was moved backwards and the green slightly enlarged, but Ridley was questioned whether a better option for the 13th would be to move the tee to the left in order to open up the right side of the fairway.

"I mean, we've looked at a number of options, not only for that hole but for a lot of holes, and we'll continue to do that," Ridley said about the idea of moving the tee sideways. 

"I mean, my personal feeling, which I stated, is there has been a comprehensive undertaking by the USGA and The R&A, not only with respect to rules changes, but with respect to distance. There's been a two‑year study that has recently concluded, and I think everyone involved now is sort of going through the process of thinking about, you know, what are the options."

Asked if he was hesistant about making changes to Amen corner, Ridley said he doesn't want to move too quickly because it is such a renowned part of the course. 

"And as I stated, while there's no hesitation on my part or historically on the part of Augusta National to make changes that are necessary, that's been observed through the years. Amen Corner is a sacred place in the world of golf. I am hesitant to move too quickly in that regard.

"My preference, as I stated, would be to see what happens, what the governing bodies decide is best for the game, and then we will take appropriate action in response to that."