AUGUSTA, Ga. — The Masters found a way to keep its field small while bringing in more PGA Tour winners.
The PGA Tour is going to a wraparound schedule that starts in October, meaning the six events held in the fall will be part of the FedEx Cup season. Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said Wednesday the winners of those fall events will qualify for the Masters.
The only tour events that don’t include a Masters invitation are those held opposite majors or World Golf Championships — the Puerto Rico Open in March, the Sanderson Farms Championship in Mississippi and the Reno-Tahoe Open.
“All of us take great pride and pleasure in seeing a tournament winner beam with pride and excitement knowing that his victory had earned him an invitation to the Masters,” Payne said.
To allow room for more winners, however, the Masters is making its first changes to the qualifications since 2007.
Only the top 12 and ties from the previous Masters will be eligible to return, down from the top 16 and ties. The top eight and ties from the U.S. Open used to be eligible for the Masters. That number will shrink to the top four and ties, same as the British Open and PGA Championship.
In the biggest change, the Masters will no longer include the top 30 from the PGA Tour money list.
The Masters since 2007 has invited the 30 players who reach the FedEx Cup finale at the Tour Championship, and that will remain.
Payne announced one other change effective this year — the cut will increase from the top 44 to the top 50, including the 10-shot rule.
The changes to the criteria are to keep the field at Augusta National the smallest among majors. There were 94 eligible players this year — including Darren Clarke, who was forced to withdraw with a hamstring injury — compared with 156 players at the other three majors.
The largest field in Masters history was 109 players in 1962, and the tournament has not had more than 100 players since 1966. There were 99 players in 2011.
Sox activate Drew, put
Lackey on DL
BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox have placed right-hander John Lackey on the 15-day disabled list and activated shortstop Stephen Drew.
In another move Wednesday, they called up right-hander Alex Wilson from Pawtucket. On Tuesday, they optioned shortstop Jose Iglesias to the Triple-A team.
Lackey strained his right biceps against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday in his first start since major elbow surgery sidelined him all last season.
Iglesias hit .450 in six games for Boston this season. Wilson was 1-0 with a 10.12 ERA in two relief appearances for Pawtucket.
Yanks’ Jeter resumes
TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has resumed on-field hitting after being shut down last month by left ankle soreness.
Jeter took 32 swings in batting practice Wednesday at the Yankees’ minor league complex. The 38-year-old superstar also ran for the second consecutive day.
The Yankees captain hasn’t played since appearing in a minor league spring training game as a designated hitter on March 23, when the ankle he broke in Game 1 of the ALCS last October bothered him while running.
While not going at full speed, Jeter looked smooth going three times from first to third and three times from third to first on the grass just behind the infield dirt. The 13-time All-Star also fielded 45 grounders at short, and threw to first base for the first time.MORE IN Sports Wire
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