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April 05, 2011

Pine tree blows down at Augusta National during practice rounds

Posted at 2:55 PM by Mike Walker | Categories: Augusta National, Masters

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A 30-foot pine tree fell at Augusta National during practice rounds Tuesday afternoon. No one was injured.

It was clear and breezy when the tree, located between the 14th tee and the 15th fairway, snapped and wobbled for a few seconds around 1:30 p.m. Spectators yelled, “Watch out! Watch out!” and then the tree crashed down with a deep thud.

Security guards roped off the area within minutes as another tall tree wavered precariously. The felled tree was in a stand of dozens between the 14th tee and the pond in front of 15th green. Few spectators were in the vicinity of the spot where the tree fell. However, if the tree had fallen in the other direction, it would have landed near a crowded food-vending station.

No players were in the vicinity of the tree either. Vijay Singh and Robert Allenby had already hit their drives on 14 and were well down the fairway, and the next practice group, Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen, were still on the 13th green.

Heavy thunderstorms blew through Augusta overnight, knocking over a tree on the famous Magnolia Lane, the road that leads into the Augusta National clubhouse, and delaying the opening of the gates at Augusta National on Tuesday morning. According to The Augusta Chronicle, the storm hit Augusta at 3 a.m. Tuesday with thunder, lightning, hail, heavy rains and high winds. Much of the area was under a tornado watch, the paper said.

Augusta National officials said they were looking into the fallen tree near the 15th hole and would be able to comment more on the incident and any precautions they are taking later in the day.

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