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the masters

Rob Carr / Associated Press

Billy Payne is retiring as chairman of Augusta National and the Masters, ending 11 years of substantial change that included the club having its first female members and playing a leading role in growing the game around the world.

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Payne officially retires on Oct. 16 when the club opens for a new season.

Matt Slocum / Associated Press

A short stroll down Augusta National's back nine was all it took to see that something was missing at this year’s Masters.

A look past the fairways and greens, and it quickly became apparent: The abundance of eye-catching, colorful plants had been replaced by dullish, green, spent azaleas. Augusta National's signature blooms are the victims of Mother Nature.

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