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One way the Masters might cut field size

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- You have to wonder, leaving Wednesday's State of the Masters news conference, just how long the invitation will be extended to PGA Tour winners. What spiked this year's field to 99 players, a number that has Chairman Billy Payne concerned, were the 10 players that earned exemptions solely with a tour victory. That number, according to Chairman of the Competition Committee Fred Ridley, is normally in the four-to-fve range and a reflection of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson combining for one victory since last year's Masters. "There is a maximum number of competitors for which we can give the experience that we want them to have and do it in a way that's manageable," Payne said. "The hundred pushes that limit quite significantly." With Augusta's commitment to its tradition of amateur golf, along with its outreach into Asia, that kind of puts them in a box. Maybe, to use Ridley's word, it's just an "anomaly," and that Tiger and Phil start winning like Tiger and Phil again. If they don't, and pace of play becomes an issue because of the largest field since 103 in 1966, players like Jhonattan Vegas and Gary Woodland may not get the privilege of a Masters
invitation.

--Tim Rosaforte

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July 28, 2014

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