One of the greatest tournaments, if not the greatest, sports competition takes place this week in Golfs greatest Tournament, the Masters.
This years four day event will be the 80th edition of the prestigious Augusta National event with Spieth, McIlroy, Mickelson and Watson hoping to claim the green jacket come Sunday night. While the Masters is undoubtedly the sports most prestigious tournament, golf will be returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904.
United States Golf Association executive director Mike Davis, Masters chairman Billy Hayne and PGA of America chief executive Pete Bevacqua held a news conference ahead of the tournament at Augusta National. During the conference they made some announcements about what the Olympic champion, if from a low ranking, will receive along with Olympic acclaim.
They announced during the conference that the winner of the Gold medal at the Olympics will receive an automatic entry into the LPGA and the PGA Tour. “Given the way that the qualification system is to the Olympics, where countries are limited on how many players they can have, you could have some lower-ranked players, relatively speaking. So the idea is that if you’re good enough to win that gold medal, and it happens only once every four years, we want you in our national championships.”
That means that both the winner of the mens and womens event at the Olympics will gain entry into the major PGA and LPGA Tour Tournaments. Golfs return to the Olympics will feature a field of 60 players in a 72 hole stroke play tournament. The field will be based on the world rankings with the top 15 from the world rankings automatically qualifying for the event.
Until then the golfing world will be focused on Augusta National this weekend when the Masters tees off on Thursday evening. Viewers in Ireland will be pleased to know that all four days of the competition are live on Setanta Ireland.