Augusta, GA (Sports Network) - Augusta National and Masters Chairman Billy
Payne announced two changes to the season's first major during his annual pre-
tournament press conference Wednesday.
Payne announced the cut will be increased from 44 to 50 players and ties, plus
those within 10 strokes of the leader, and amending three qualifications for
an invitation to the event.
"In recent years, and as our field of participating players has grown, I have
said repeatedly that we annually examine our invitation criteria in order to
maintain Bobby Jones' desire to keep the Masters an intimate gathering of the
world's best competitors and to afford all players a reasonable expectation of
completion in the reduced hours of sunlight available each spring," said
Previous winners will continue to earn an invite to the tournament, including
those who win the events providing full-point allocation for the season-ending
Tour Championship. The latter includes the fall tournaments that will become
full-point events in the PGA Tour's new 2013-14 schedule, which will increase
the number of players invited to the Masters.
That change caused tournament officials to drop invitations to the Masters'
top-12 finishers from the top 16, the top-four players from the U.S. Open from
the top eight, which will make the qualification criteria consistent with the
British Open and the PGA Championship, and removing the qualification from the
year-end, top-30 PGA Tour money winners.
Payne also said the only significant change to the golf course for this year's
event was that the 14th green was rebuilt and regrassed, and a heating and
cooling system was added beneath its surface.
The Sports Network