11 Apr 2013

Masters men announce changes

9:37 am on 11 April 2013

The chairman of the Augusta National golf club Billy Payne has announced changes on the eve of the Masters tournament, including an increased number of qualifiers for the final two rounds, and granting automatic entry next year to more PGA Tour winners.

The 36-hole cut for this week's 93-player field will be expanded by six to the top 50 and ties, and those within 10 strokes of the lead.

The move to increase the number of PGA Tour winners came after the US Tour announced a change in the way it designates its season, starting the new season in late 2013 with six now official events previously called the Fall Series.

To offset the increases, instead of the 16 finishers automatically earning invitations back to Augusta, only the top 12 will be assured of berths the following year, only the top four at the US Open will qualify automatically for the Masters, compared with eight in the past, and the top 30 on the PGA tour money list will no longer get automatic berths.

The stately Georgian club has admitted its first two female members, the former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and financier Darla Moore.