Augusta National has sent letters to all honorary invitees to inform them that their traditional opportunity to play practice rounds, hit balls and participate in the annual Par 3 Contest before The Masters has been revoked.
Only those playing in The Masters and former champions will be able to have those privileges.
For many years, honorary invitees – any U.S. Open, Open Championship, PGA Championship or U.S. Amateur winner – were treated like anyone else until The Masters began on Thursday. With a recent increase in interest in the Par 3 Contest, those invitees are being asked to step aside.
“As a person and an honorary invitee, I’m disappointed because it was my favorite day of the year,” past Open Championship winner Ian Baker-Finch told the Associated Press. “I loved it. I’ll still be there, though, and I’ll watch like everyone else.”
The Masters has given all major champions and U.S. Amateur victors special access, including two clubhouse badges, a $1,000 honorarium and a commemorative gift. While the chance to play practice rounds and the Par 3 Contest are no longer an option, everything else will remain.
Augusta National’s Par 3 Course was built in 1958 with Sam Snead winning the first Par 3 Contest in 1960. No player has won the contest and then won The Masters.