Augusta National to Host Round of Women's Amateur Event Before 2019 Masters

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2018

AUGUSTA, GA - APRIL 04:  Hideki Matsuyama of Japan walks across the Nelson Bridge during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 4, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia.  (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)
Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Augusta National will host a round of the first Augusta National Women's Amateur golf tournament next year, prior to the playing of the Masters, according to the Associated Press.

Per that report, "The tournament will be played over three rounds, with the first two at the Champions Retreat outside Augusta and the final round played on the Saturday before the Masters at the famed Augusta National course."

The field will consist of 72 women and will be a stroke-play event over 54 holes, with "the field determined by winners of recognized championships and placement on the Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking," per Sean Zak of Golf.com.

There could be some conflict with the LPGA, however.

As Ryan Lavner of GolfChannel.com wrote, "The new Augusta amateur event could pose an issue for the LPGA. The tour’s first major of the year, the ANA Inspiration, is held the week before the Masters, and the tournament already invites six of the top amateurs in the world, and a seventh qualifies as the winner of the ANA Junior Inspiration."

Nonetheless, it will be a positive step for Augusta National, which infamously did not allow female members at its club until 2012.

LPGA player Cheyenne Woods was pleased to see the new tournament announced: 

Cheyenne Woods @Cheyenne_Woods

Next year, Augusta National will host a women’s amateur championship. This is amazing for the women’s game!!! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

"Golf is a great game," Masters chairman Fred Ridley said, per Zak. "Hopefully it is colorblind, is blind to gender. I think golf is in a great place right now. ... I've never been a part of this week where there is any more excitement. I hope today has added a little more excitement to this week."

Ridley added that he hopes the event will eventually be televised and broadcast digitally. 

"We have an obligation to give back to the game," Ridley said. "In recent years, we've been able to do a lot more."