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Augusta National Removes Eisenhower Tree After Ice Storm

The tree named after former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and a nemesis to golfers at The Masters Tournament was felled as a result of last week's ice storm that hit Augusta, Ga., and other parts of the South.

The Eisenhower Tree, a loblolly pine on No. 17, lost most of its major branches in the storm, Billy Payne, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, said Sunday.

The tree has since been removed from the course.

"Like so many of our family, friends and neighbors in this community, Augusta National Golf Club has been busy cleaning up after the historic ice storm this week," Payne said in a written statement. "Everyone affected remains in our hearts and prayers, and we likewise hope for a speedy and complete recovery for all."

"The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept. We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible."

Eisenhower, the 34th president, hit his ball into the tree so many times that in 1956 he asked Augusta National to remove it, a request that was rebuffed, a history of the golf club shows. The tree subsequently became named after Eisenhower.

Deliberations are underway to address the future of the 17th hole and to pay tribute to the iconic symbol of Augusta National's history.

"[R}est assured, we will do both appropriately," Payne said.

"I can report that the golf course sustained no major damage otherwise. We are now open for member play and we will be unaffected in our preparations for the 2014 Masters Tournament."