Woods and McIlroy learn latest change to Augusta for 2023 Masters

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Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will face a new challenge at the Masters in 2023 after Augusta officials confirmed changes to the iconic par-5 13th hole. It has long been known that the famous Amen Corner hole was being lengthened ahead of the first major of the year in April.

But the Masters Tournament have now confirmed the new layout after releasing their annual media course guide on Monday. The 13th, named Azalea, now measures at 545 yards, which is a 35-yard increase from the 510 yards that the hole played last year. The total course is now 7,545 yards, with no changes made across the other 17 holes.

The par-5 13th has historically been the easiest hole in Masters Tournament history, and ranked third most scorable in last year’s event behind the par-5 2nd and 8th. The risk-reward dogleg so often defines the winner on Sundays with Rae’s Creek guarding the green and penalising stray shots. 

But modern hitting distances have made the hole more gettable with big-hitters like McIlroy often cutting the corner with mammoth drives and playing their approach shots with just short irons in their hands.

Masters chairman Fred Ridley conceded last year that the hole was no longer playing as originally intended with players faced with the dilemma of a dangerous shot into the green. “The fact that players are hitting middle to short-irons into that hole is not really how it was designed,” Ridley admitted.

And while 545 yards still doesn’t represent a particularly long par-5, the added distance will certainly provide a fresh test for players including McIlroy and Woods. The lengthened hole will require players to be more accurate off the tee in order to be comfortable with their approach effort. 

The change on 13th follows the bump in yardages of the 11th and 15th last year. And it is the only alteration made to the hole since 2002 when the tee was moved back 25 yards during the period Woods was transforming how the game was played with his destructive power. 

Remarkably, the hole is now measured at 60 yards longer than when Woods won his first green jacket in 1997. The 47-year-old will be targeting a return to Augusta in April as he continues his rehabilitation from injuries sustained in a horrific February 2021 car crash.

World no.1 McIlory, meanwhile, is tipped to have his greatest chance yet of ending his nine-year major drought and completing the career Grand Slam by finally claiming his first green jacket.

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