- Unbeliebable: White House turns Bieber petition response into immigration screed
- Obama signs law denying Iran ambassador’s visa, but says law is ‘advisory’
- Mich. judge to laughing convicted killer: ‘I hope you die in prison’
- Man charged in Kansas City-area highway shootings
- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
Why Masters might invite PGA Tour winners in fall
Scott Piercy won the Canadian Open last summer and talked about a promise he made to himself to not go to Augusta National unless he was in the Masters field. Ted Potter Jr. said it was a career goal to play in Masters after he qualified by winning The Greenbrier Classic.
These stories likely are to weigh heavily on Augusta National chairman Billy Payne when he decides whether PGA Tour winners in the fall will be invited to the Masters. Payne could announce changes to the criteria during his Wednesday news conference at the Masters.
Augusta National returned to its practice of inviting PGA Tour winners the year after the FedEx Cup began in 2007. But there was a caveat. The club invited winners only of tour events that offered full FedEx Cup points. The opposite-field events, and the Fall Series held after the FedEx Cup ended, didn’t count.
The PGA Tour, however, is going to a wraparound season after this year. That means the six tournaments in the fall will be included in the 2013-14 FedEx Cup season.
The question for Augusta National is whether the winners of those six events will earn a trip down Magnolia Lane.
The club and tour have been talking about it the last several months, and one person involved described the discussions as positive.
The Masters has the smallest field of the majors and wants to keep it that way to enhance the experience of those playing. It has not had more than 100 competitors since 1966, though it has come close it recent years, with 99 in the 2011 tournament.
The most likely scenario is for the Masters to take the winners of the six fall events and eliminate the category of top 30 on the PGA Tour money list.
To follow that model a year ago, there would have been two fewer players at the Masters and three fewer players in 2011 and 2010. And with the U.S. Amateur Public Links soon to go away that would free up another spot.
The Masters got away from inviting PGA Tour winners in 1999. That was the same year the World Golf Championships began, and with the WGCs came opposite-field events the same week. That’s a polite way of saying “watered-down fields,” and the Masters did not deem those winners worthy of an invitation.
Gabriel Hjertstedt won in Tucson the week of the inaugural Match Play Championship. He remains the only opposite-field winner to get invited to the Masters.
When it stopped inviting winners after 1999, the club said it was interested in the most consistent player throughout the year. That’s why the Masters is likely to continue taking the 30 players who qualify for the Tour Championship.
And perhaps it’s no coincidence that the tour is looking to tweak its FedEx Cup points system so that one high finish in the playoff events doesn’t get a player to East Lake (see Chez Reavie in 2011) and qualify him for three majors, including the Masters.
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- EDITORIAL: Mark Warner running scared?
- CHARLES: Holder's undermining of the law deserving of contempt
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Justice at last: 'Evil woman' outed for grabbing girl's game ball
- 'Deport Bieber' petition draws no comment from White House
- Critics rail against liberal bias for commencement speakers
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.