AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Already the smallest field among majors, the Masters is shrinking the field for the Par 3 Contest.
Augusta National has sent letters to its honorary invitees to inform them that the Par 3 Contest, held on the Wednesday before the opening round, will be limited to players in the field and past Masters champions.
“It’s sad,” former British Open champion David Duval said. “But I understand it. Maybe there’s not enough spots in the Par 3.”
U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship winners are exempt to the Masters for five years. After that, they become “honorary invitees,” along with all past U.S. Amateur champions. For years, that allowed them to be treated like anyone else in the field up until the opening round Thursday.
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Now, however, the club is asking that they no longer play practice rounds or use the practice facility.
Augusta National said in an email that honorary invitees still have special access to the Masters, but that the Par 3 Contest will be limited because of increased participation and interest. ESPN has televised the Par 3 Contest since 2008.
“As a person and an honorary invitee, I’m disappointed because it was my favorite day of the year,” former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch said. “I loved it. I’ll still be there, though, and I’ll watch like everyone else.”
Baker-Finch played his final Masters…