Famous “Eisenhower Tree” on Display at the Eisenhower Presidential Lib | The Living Urn

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Famous “Eisenhower Tree” on Display at the Eisenhower Presidential Library

Estimated to be about 120 years old, the 65-foot loblolly pine guarded the left side of the fairway about 200 yards from the tee box on the 17th hole since Augusta National was created in the 1930s. It often bedeviled players whose tee shots drifted just a little too far left.

Among those players was Dwight Eisenhower, who joined Augusta National in 1948. The tree grabbed so many of Ike's tee shots over the years that he lobbied the club's leadership to chop it down – according to Masters lore, he even attended the club's annual meeting in December of 1956 to formally seek its removal.

Not surprisingly, Clifford Roberts denied his request – which meant the club chairman overruled the leader of the free world.

The tree stood tall for almost six more decades, until an ice storm in February 2014 damaged it so severely that it couldn't be saved. Golf fans worldwide mourned its loss, and chimed in with suggestions on what the club should do with the pieces.

"We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible," current club chairman Billy Payne said in a statement after the storm. "We have begun deliberations of the best way to address the future of the 17th hole and to pay tribute to this iconic symbol of our history – rest assured, we will do both appropriately."

On Wednesday, he revealed the result of those deliberations – an 8-foot-high display case holding a large crosscut from the tree – six inches thick and 4 ½ feet in diameter. 

The crosscut remained on display throughout the Masters, and is now being shipped to its new permanent home at the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas. Augusta National also preserved a second cross-cut section that will stay on the premises. 

And out in the nursery, there's a seedling from the famous tree. 

Could it perhaps someday take the place of its famous forebear alongside the 17th fairway? No decision has yet been made, Payne said.

Source: PGA.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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