Wesley Bryan’s role in the lengthening of Augusta National
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — The late Hootie Johnson fiercely defended the lengthening of Augusta National during his term as club chairman. The first overhaul added 285 yards after the 2001 Masters, and six more holes were lengthened after the 2005 Masters.
Johnson said the changes were to keep current with the modern game, and he leaned on his own experience.
But he wasn’t playing in March 2005 with a PGA Tour player. He was playing with teenagers.
“I had a guest down here in March — 17 years old, about 5-foot-10, 160 pounds. He hit pitching wedges into 17 and 7,” Johnson said at the 2005 Masters. “A lot had been written some years back that we were trying to Tiger-proof our golf course, and we are not worried about Tiger. We are worried about these 17-year-olds.”
That 17-year-old was George Bryan. Also playing that day was his 14-year-old brother, former Gamecock and Dutch Fork grad, Wesley Bryan, who makes his Masters debut this week.
“I think it was probably more George-proofing at the time than it was Wesley-proofing,” Bryan said Monday. “I wasn’t having lob wedges into No. 17. He always hit the ball farther than I did. And playing with Mr. Johnson was obviously a treat, and seeing his reaction to where George was hitting some of those tee shots is pretty funny, as well.”