Bob Harig looks at the continuing chatter about the likelihood of the Masters trimming the PGA Tour winner exemption because its field is getting too big.
Payne did not say the Masters will rescind that winners invitation, but if you are looking to cut back the size of the field, which invitation category do you cut back? There are not a lot of choices.
Let's assume the Masters is not going to mess with its longstanding history of inviting past champions and a group of amateurs (now six). Or the usual five-year perks granted to winners of the other major championships.
Maybe they cut back on the invitations to top finishers at majors, including 16 at the Masters, eight at the U.S. Open and four at the British Open. Since it relies so heavily on the top 50 in the world ranking, perhaps you trim back the previous year's money leaders from 30 to 25.
And a big one: Eliminate the top 30 in the FedEx Cup category. Getting into that group can be much more of a fluke than winning a tournament.
Or how about the OWGR's Top 50 Exemption? Oh I know that boys club of 50 is sacred ground!
Both the top 50 and the FedEx Cup 30 are serious overkill for the Masters field size, especially with the way the "playoffs" are structured. They need to eliminate spots other than the exemptions to winners of actual tournaments. The winners not only gives the Masters a field of people who have crossed the finish line first, but also makes for a great pre-event build-up as players who aren't in and get in via a win inevitably mention The Masters as perk #1.