Augusta National announced changes to six holes, lengthening the course to 7,445 yards -- the second-longest layout in major championship history.

Only Whistling Straits, which played at 7,514 yards for last year's PGA Championship, has presented golfers with a longer challenge.

Augusta National underwent a major renovation leading up to the 2002 Masters, altering nine holes and adding 285 yards to the historic course designed by Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie.

It wasn't enough to fend off today's long-hitters, who have benefited from improvements in conditioning and equipment. Augusta National, which refuses to turn its rough into a U.S. Open-style quagmire, must rely on length and slick, tricky greens to keep scores from going absurdly low.

The club is altering three holes -- Nos. 1, 4 and 7 -- on the front side and three -- 11, 15 and 17 -- on the back.

The tee at the par-3 fourth will move back 30-35 yards, lengthening the hole to about 240 yards. The club was mindful of the late Jones's assessment in 1959, when he said the hole should require a long iron or even a wood. This year, most competitors teed off with a 5- or 6-iron.

Then there's No. 11, which leads into "Amen Corner" and will become the first par-4 hole in Masters history over 500 yards. With the tee shifted back 10-15 yards, the hole will measure about 505 for next year's tournament.

"The changes on the second nine holes again stress accuracy off the tee and maintaining shot values," club chairman Hootie Johnson said.

Construction work began this month, while the club is closed to golf for the summer. The changes should be completed by the fall.

-- From News Services