The Masters returns once more tomorrow when the best golfers in the world descend upon Augusta National Golf Club for the weekend. Prior to the start of the tournament, the chairman of Augusta, Fred Ridley, made news today when he announced the formation of the Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship, the final round of which will be played at the famed course.
The championship, which will have it's inaugural event in April of 2019, will extend invitations to an international field of 72 amateur women's golfers. Invitations will be extended to the winners of the U.S. Women's Amateur, Ladies' British Open Amateur Championship, Women's Amateur Asia-Pacific, U.S. Girls' Junior, Girls' British Open Amateur Championship, and the Girls Junior PGA Championship. Other than the winners of those events, invitations will be extended based on the Women's World Amateur Golf Ranking.
The three-day, 54-hole, tournament will play the first 36 holes over two days at Champions Retreat Golf Club in August, Georgia. After those two days, the field will be narrowed to 30 golfers and they will play a final competitive round to determine the championship at Augusta National Golf Club on Saturday, April 6th of 2019.
Chairman Ridley explained the reasoning behind the formation of the championship at a press conference on Wednesday:
"Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts left behind a legacy of always trying to contribute meaningfully to the game of golf," Ridley said. "The Augusta National Women's Amateur Championship embodies that principle, and we believe this event will have a significant and lasting impact on the future of the women's game. Our hope and expectation is that this event will further energize those who already love the sport and inspire others through the dream of competing at Augusta National."
The winner of the event will receive an invitation to the next five Augusta National Women's Amateur Championships as long as that player remains an amateur. In addition, the winner will receive invites to the 2019 U.S. Women's Open and the 2019 Women's British Open.
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