December 6, 2007
AUGUSTA, Ga.---The following is a news release from the Augusta National Golf Club:
Billy Payne, Chairman of the Masters Tournament and Augusta National Golf Club, announced today the first two initiatives of a multi-year, multifaceted program to utilize the Masters brand and resources to promote the game of golf around the world.
The first initiative employs one of sports' most coveted items, a ticket to the Masters.
Beginning with the 2008 Masters, a youngster age 8-16 will be admitted free on
Tournament days (Thursday through Sunday) when accompanied by an accredited
patron. An accredited patron is someone attending the Masters who is the individual named on a Series badge application.
"We want to inspire the next generation of golfers now," Payne said. "We're serious about exposing youngsters to golf and the Masters."
In a further effort to reach a broader and younger audience, Payne also announced that in 2008 the Masters' new cable associate ESPN would televise the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday April 9th from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Added Payne: "The Par 3 Contest is fun and exciting for the entire family. It's an event everyone enjoys and we think it will demonstrate to kids just how fun golf can be."
The Par 3 Contest was first conducted in 1960 and is played over a nine hole, par 27 1,060 yard course. Since the event's inception there have been 63 holes-in-one, including five in 2002. "You don't need to be an avid golfer to cheer for a hole-in-one," said Payne.
"The Par 3 Contest is a lot of fun, one of the real highlights of every year," said two-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson. "It's been a wonderful experience to have my daughters caddie the last two years. It's special because it's a rare opportunity for both players and patrons to enjoy the game as families."
"These initiatives are important first steps and a great kickoff to our ongoing mission of growing the game," Payne added.