By Ann Liguori
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The ice storm that hit Augusta, Georgia — home of Augusta National Golf Club and the upcoming Masters tournament — last week took its toll on the most famous tree in golf.
How terrible that the famed Eisenhower Tree, which had been a fixture on the left side of the par-four 17th hole, had to be removed this weekend due to damage from the storm.
Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said the club “obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible.”
The loblolly pine, believed to be 100 to 125 years old, annoyed many an amateur golfer who would hit into it off the tee, including Augusta National member President Dwight Eisenhower who, as the story goes, wanted to have it cut down because his ball hit it so often.
Instead, they nicknamed it “Ike’s Tree” — and it became part of golf lore.
And what about the infamous 150-year-old-plus “Big Oak Tree” by the clubhouse? Apparently it escaped major damage from the ice storm.
Payne continued: “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.”
As for other remembrances at Augusta National of the president who Arnold Palmer said popularized the game of golf unlike any other, there is “Eisenhower Cabin” and “Ike’s Pond,” bordering the eighth and ninth holes on the par-three course, where the former president enjoyed fishing.
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