Masters 2023: ‘Hairy and scary’ is how one player’s family described nearby trees falling at Augusta

AUGUSTA, Ga. — Australian amateur and Masters debutant Harrison Crowe has detailed the terrifying moment three trees fell down at Augusta National’s 17th hole near his family and friends in the gallery.

Late on Friday afternoon, during a weather-interrupted second round, two trees and parts of a third fell down beside Augusta’s 17th hole with fans in the area. The footage of the trees collapsing went viral on social media. Play was twice suspended due to inclement weather Friday before it was called for the day at 5.45p.m.

Among the patrons near the trees was the family of Crowe, who was playing in a group alongside fellow Australian, DP World Tour winner Min Woo Lee, and 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize, who is playing in his last Masters.

The trio were putting on No. 16 green when two trees fell while the top portion of a third tree split and dropped.

“We heard it — we watched the whole thing. It just started crackling and then it came down. It was scary,” Crowe, 21, whose Masters start was secured with his 2022 Asia Pacific Amateur victory, told Australian reporters.

Lee is playing in his second Masters after a tie for 14th last year. Lee said briefly Friday, “It was close, but we’re all good.”

Augusta National officials confirmed no fans were hurt in the incident, much to the delight of 21-year-old Crowe. “They [my family] were on the other side, so that was lucky,” he said.

Crowe’s father, Tony, was in the gallery between Nos. 16 and 17 and only 20 yards from where the timber crashed into the turf.

“There was just a loud crack, everyone scattered,” Tony said. “We didn’t have to move—we were far enough away. It was pretty loud. One tree started and another tree went as well. Everyone knew it was coming down because you could hear it—it was in slow motion. It was hairy and scary.”

“The worst part about it was all the security guards after the fact said you need to get off the course because more trees are going to fall down,” he said.

Augusta National issued a statement Friday night about the incident.

Tony said the real horror came from warnings of more trees falling.

“Augusta National Golf Club can confirm that no injuries were reported from three trees that were blown over to the left of the No. 17 tee due to wind,” the statement read. “The safety and well-being of everyone attending the Masters tournament will always be the top priority of the Club. We will continue to closely monitor weather today and through the tournament.”

Crowe, who stands at five over the tournament, Lee (six over) and Mize (12 over) will return to the 16th green Saturday when play is scheduled to resume at 8 a.m. EDT. The horn sounded Friday night while Crowe’s missed birdie putt was travelling towards the hole.

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