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Masters landmark Ike's Tree suffers major damage, removed

Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014 5:44 PM
Last updated Monday, Feb. 17, 2014 2:20 AM
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Golf’s most famous pine tree is no longer guarding the 17th hole at Augusta National Golf Club.

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Ike's tree, seen here at last year's Masters Tournament, was removed from No. 17 at Augusta National Golf Club after suffering major damage in last week's ice storm.  FILE/STAFF
FILE/STAFF
Ike's tree, seen here at last year's Masters Tournament, was removed from No. 17 at Augusta National Golf Club after suffering major damage in last week's ice storm.

SLIDESHOW: IKE IN AUGUSTA

View more photos from the archive

The Eisenhower Tree suffered major damage in an ice storm and was removed over the weekend, the club confirmed Sunday.

Photos showed major limb damage, particularly on the left side and top of the tree.

“The loss of the Eisen­hower Tree is difficult news to accept,” Augusta National and Masters Chairman Billy Payne said in a prepared statement. “We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible.”

The Masters landmark, also known as Ike’s Tree, was about 210 yards from the tee on the left side of the par-4 hole. The loblolly pine stood 65 feet high and was believed to be 100 to 125 years old.

The tree was named because the former president and Augusta National member often hit into it, and at a club meeting in 1956 he proposed cutting it down. Masters co-founder Clifford Roberts ruled him out of order and adjourned the meeting, and the tree has been linked to Eisenhower ever since.

“We have begun deliberations of the best way to address the future of the 17th hole and to pay tribute to this iconic symbol of our history – rest assured, we will do both appropriately,” Payne said.

Sleet and freezing rain began pelting the Augusta area Tuesday night and continued throughout Wednesday, and photos of Magnolia Lane showed several limbs and branches down as nearly an inch of ice accumulated.

Payne said that Augusta National’s layout did not receive any other major damage, and is open for member play.

Six-time Masters winner Jack Nicklaus issued a statement Sunday about the loss of the tree.
“The Eisenhower Tree is such an iconic fixture and symbol of tradition at Au­gus­ta National,” he said. “It was such an integral part of the game and one that will be sorely missed … I hit it so many times over the years that I don’t care to comment on the names I called myself and the names I might have called the tree. ‘Ike’s Tree’ was a kind choice. But looking back, Ike’s Tree will be greatly missed.”

Ike’s Tree isn’t the only notable landmark created by Mother Nature at Augusta National.

The magnolia trees that line the club’s famous entrance date to the late 1850s, as does the “big oak tree” behind the clubhouse. It’s a popular gathering spot during Masters Week for players, officials and club members.

CLUB STATEMENT

Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National and the Masters, released a statement Sunday:

“Like so many of our family, friends and neighbors in this community, Augusta National Golf Club has been busy cleaning up after the historic ice storm last week. Everyone affected remains in our hearts and prayers, and we likewise hope for a speedy and complete recovery for all.

“The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept. We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible.

“We have begun deliberations of the best way to address the future of the 17th hole and to pay tribute to this iconic symbol of our history – rest assured, we will do both appropriately.

“I can report that the golf course sustained no major damage otherwise. We are now open for Member play and we will be unaffected in our preparations for the 2014 Masters Tournament.”

VIGNETTES ABOUT IKE’S TREE

LOST BALL

1973 Masters champion Tommy Aaron had a memorable encounter with the tree one year.

Here’s Aaron’s story:

“I hit a drive there, and it hit in top of the Eisenhower pine and pollen went everywhere. And nobody moved. So I said, ‘That ball stayed in the tree.’ The local caddie with us said they don’t stay in the tree. And I said, ‘That ball stayed in the tree.’

So we couldn’t find it. We looked around, and I go back and I play another under the lost ball rule. And the next day we’re walking by the tree and a ball drops out of the tree, and I know it’s my ball because it had a marking on it and it was a Pinnacle.

“So I know it was my ball. Someone told Jack Nicklaus that story and he said, ‘I’m not sure I believe it.’

But I’ve got a witness, my caddie, Rhett Sinclair.”

TIGER’S INJURY

Tiger Woods, a four-time Masters winner, was sidelined for much of 2011 by injuries to his left knee and left Achilles tendon. He suffered those injuries while squatting to hit a shot under the Eisenhower Tree on the 17th hole in the third round of the Masters.

His left foot got caught in the pine straw as the momentum of the swing carried him backward, he said. Woods’ shot wound up in the front bunker and he saved par,

Woods held a share of the lead in the final round and finished tied for fourth.

Comments (10) Add comment
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justthefacts
22997
Points
justthefacts 02/16/14 - 08:34 pm
6
0
Just damn

Hate to hear it.

YeCats
11327
Points
YeCats 02/16/14 - 08:50 pm
5
1
"All good things

gotta come to an end"- J. Stafford

ralphinga
1403
Points
ralphinga 02/16/14 - 09:19 pm
4
0
I'll buy the remains...

Can you imagine how much I could make if I cut it up, put on a little brass plaque, and sold it as a souvenir?

draksig
167
Points
draksig 02/16/14 - 09:27 pm
4
0
My suggestion

I think the best way to honor the tree and Ike is to salvage the wood and use it to build a new cottage on the grounds calling it Ike's cabin.

kiwiinamerica
950
Points
kiwiinamerica 02/17/14 - 12:50 am
0
0
Don't worry, Billy.
Unpublished

I lost a few of my pine trees, too.

It'll be OK.

seenitB4
91146
Points
seenitB4 02/17/14 - 08:40 am
3
0
Sorry to hear this

The most famous tree in Augusta...hard to replace.

studmuffin1533
301
Points
studmuffin1533 02/17/14 - 08:52 am
3
0
Salvage the wood

I'm sure they anonymously disposed of the wood. Would've been great for them to send it out to Lamb Brothers in Wrens to have it milled, sticker dried, then cut into plaques that could've been cnc routered and gifted to members.

dickworth1
954
Points
dickworth1 02/17/14 - 08:58 am
4
1
Ike's tree
Unpublished

Ike finally gets his wish, the tree has left the grounds.

grinder48
2031
Points
grinder48 02/17/14 - 11:32 am
0
0
20/20 Hindsight
Unpublished

Should have run heater cables all over tree and had a generator running 24/7. Not finding fault with ANGC, I'm sure they would have done everything they could have had it occurred to anyone. It's more than a local loss, it was a national treasure ...

daphne3520
950
Points
daphne3520 02/17/14 - 10:51 am
0
0
And? NO TEXT
Unpublished

nt

Jake
33025
Points
Jake 02/17/14 - 11:33 am
6
0
Salvaged wood

On my only visit inside the pro shop at the Augusta National, there was an old wooden cracker/pickle barrel. Inscribed on it was a brass tag with a message that it was made from the original lumber that was used to construct the White House. During a remodel of the White House President Eisenhower salvaged the lumber, had the barrel made and presented it to the National as a gift.

Scott Michaux
179
Points
Scott Michaux 02/17/14 - 01:42 pm
1
0
Pine wood

I can assure you that they didn't "anonymously" dispose of that wood. When they tore down a tree to make room for the lengthened 2nd tee, they still use the wood as base for Masters Major Achievement Awards. It almost certainly will be repurposed into something.

Little Lamb
47283
Points
Little Lamb 02/17/14 - 03:03 pm
1
1
Left

Reporter John Boyette wrote:

Photos showed major limb damage, particularly on the left side and top of the tree.

I'm sure I know what Boyette means, but it sounds kind of weird to say that a tree has a “left side” or a “right side.”

:-)

my.voice
4931
Points
my.voice 02/17/14 - 05:36 pm
3
0
Make a WELCOME MARTHA BURKE

Make a WELCOME MARTHA BURKE sign out of it.

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