The Eisenhower Tree, so much a part of Augusta National that not even a sitting US president could have it taken down, was removed from the 17th hole at the weekend because of damage from an ice storm. "The loss of the Eisenhower Tree is difficult news to accept," club chairman Billy Payne said. "We obtained opinions from the best arborists available and, unfortunately, were advised that no recovery was possible." With the Masters only two months away, Payne said there was no other significant damage to the course. Did it get in my way? It was like George Brett at third base for me. It caught more line drives from me than I'm allowed to admit Curtis Strange The loblolly pine, which sat about 210 yards off the left of the 17th fairway, was among the most famous trees in golf. It forced players to aim away from the tree or try to shape the ball from right-to-left to avoid it. And it infuriated one of the club members after whom the tree eventually was named - former US president Dwight Eisenhower. Eisenhower, an Augusta member from 1948 until his death in 1969, was said to have hit the tree so often on his tee shot that he campaigned to have it removed and proposed during an Augusta National governors' meeting that it be cut down. This was in 1956, when Ike was starting his second term as president. Clifford Roberts, the club chairman and co-founder, overruled the president and adjourned the meeting. It has been known as the Eisenhower Tree ever since. While players appreciated the history, some of them were not terribly fond of the century-old pine that was 290 metres tall. "Did it get in my way?" said two-time US Open champion Curtis Strange. "It was like George Brett at third base for me. It caught more line drives from me than I'm allowed to admit. That doesn't hurt my feelings." David Duval, who contended four times for a green jacket at the Masters, played a fade off the tee and had to be mindful of the Eisenhower Tree. Told the news, he was stunned. "Are you kidding me? That's terrible," Duval said. "That tree made you really pay attention to where you are driving it. It made for a very narrow tee shot. You either had to go up over it or around it." Duval thought the only tree that got so much attention on a golf course was the original tree near the front of the 18th green at Pebble Beach. That has since been replaced, and there is speculation that Augusta National could do the same. The ice storm last week caused the tree to lose a significant amount of major limbs. A photo in The Augusta Chronicle showed gaping sections missing from the left side. The club had used cables to help hold the pine together in recent years.