An iconic piece of golf history will find a new home in Abilene.
Masters Tournament Chairman Billy Payne announced at a news conference Wednesday morning that a cross-section of the Eisenhower Tree, the infamous three that used to reach out over the fairway leading up to the 17th hole at Augusta National Golf Club, will be presented to the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene.
The Eisenhower Tree was a loblolly pine located on the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. In the 1950s it was named after then U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower who unsuccessfully lobbied to have it taken down after it interfered with his golf game. Due to its size, history, and location, it is considered iconic of the Augusta golf course and is one of the most famous trees in American golf
The Eisenhower Tree has played a prominent role in the annual Masters Tournament. One year, the Tree came into play as Tommy Aaron hit a shot off the 17th tee which became known as the “Lost Ball Incident”. The ball could not be located and a drop was given. The next day according to Aaron, while playing on the 17th again, the ball apparently fell from its perch within the tree. Jack Nicklaus stated “I’m not sure I believe it.” In 2011, Tiger Woods was playing a shot from underneath the Eisenhower and damaged his left knee and Achilles tendon when he slipped on some pine straw. The injuries sidelined him until August 2011 and his world ranking dropped to 58th.
In February 2014, the Eisenhower Tree was removed after suffering extensive damage during a major ice storm. It stood about 65 feet tall. It was estimated to be 100 to 125 years old at the time it died.
The cross-section of the tree will remain in Augusta throughout tournament week, before then making its way to the Eisenhower Museum in Abilene where it will be placed on permanent public display. A similar cross-section will remain at Augusta National.
There is another tree named after Eisenhower, located at Dalmeny Golf Club in Scotland, planted by the President during a visit to Edinburgh to receive the freedom of the city in 1946. On hearing of the death in Augusta, the club offered to provide an acorn to plant a new oak tree.