Past major champions and US Amateur champions who no longer qualify for the Masters are now unable to play in the Par 3 competition or play the tournament course in the days before the Masters

Smaller Field For 2017 Masters Par 3 Contest

Honourary invitees to the US Masters have been told they will are ineligible to take part in this year’s Par-3 Contest at Augusta National.

The competition takes place the day before the tournament starts, but this year all past major winners and US Amateur champions who no longer meet the criteria for The Masters will not be able to play in the par 3 contest.

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Five-time Masters participant and 2002 USPGA Champion Rich Beem told Golf Monthly, “Unfortunately Augusta National has stopped that tradition.

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“I think they just had so many players qualify for the tournament over the last few years that they decided to reduce some of the, I wouldn’t say overcrowding, but when you add another six-10 guys to play in the Par 3 tournament I think that kind of slows them up just a little more.

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“I think it is more of a time factor for them, they want to make sure that the competitors are done and dusted by about 5pm in the afternoon and everybody is getting back home and getting ready to go for Thursday so they stopped that tradition unfortunately.

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“As bummed out about it as I guess I am, I’m actually more bummed out because, as an honorary invitee as a past major winner, I could actually play the tournament course Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday in years past and I always enjoyed that going out first thing on Monday morning because I could get a feel for the golf course and understand what these guys were going through.

2017 Masters Par 3 Contest

Rich Beem playing in the 2010 Masters Par 3 contest (Photo by Robert Beck /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

“It was definitely awesome and that’s the one thing I’m probably more bummed out about is I could actually play the tournament golf course if I so chose to do so and there was a bunch of guys that would do it.

“I know that Calcaveccia came back a couple of times, Steve Pate would come out there and then a couple of US Amateur champions would go out and play it. It’s a cool honour and unfortunately they’ve taken that away and I don’t think that we’ll see that return ever again which is unfortunate but that’s just the way that it is.