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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Golf’s Newest Tradition Offers Early Peek at Augusta National

  • The fifth Augusta National Women’s Amateur is this week.
  • Saturday’s final round is played at the home of the Masters.
The Augusta Chronicle

The Masters doesn’t begin until next Thursday, but the most famous course in American golf is already getting prepped for its annual spotlight this weekend thanks to a new tradition unlike any other.

On Wednesday, the fifth Augusta National Women’s Amateur tees off, ironically not at Augusta National. The 54-hole tournament featuring 72 of the best female golfers yet to turn professional plays its first two rounds at Champions Retreat Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. 

After that, all players get a practice round at Augusta National on Friday before the top 30 and ties that made the cut compete in the final round at the home of the Masters. That gives Augusta National a chance to extend its grip on the golf world to 10 days, from the first ANWA practice round to the final round of the Masters, while not putting too much extra stress on maintaining the course’s pristine nature. Tickets for the ANWA have annually sold out just as fast as they do for the Masters, and they are going for no cheaper than $500 on secondary marketplaces. The amateur tournament features most of the same concessions and merchandise options for fans on-site.

Going for the Green

Since debuting in 2019 (canceled in ’20), the amateur event has been a launchpad for champions like Rose Zhang (’23) and Jennifer Kupcho (’19), who have both gone on to win on the LPGA tour and have racked up a combined $5.7 million in career earnings. But the unique tournament features an array of talent, like ’22 winner Anna Davis (above), who captured her title at just 16 years old, and is back in this year’s field as she competes collegiately at Auburn.

The ANWA is also a chance for NBC to broadcast live action at Augusta National, as the tournament’s final round plays out on the network. NBCUniversal’s Golf Channel gets access to Augusta National during the Masters, but all live play is shown by CBS and ESPN. Last year’s final round was delayed until Sunday due to rain, drawing an audience of 747,000, down from 859,000 in 2022 during its regular Saturday slot.

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