The Par 3 Contest is out at the spectator-free Masters in November.
ESPN’s “College GameDay” is in.
Augusta National announced Tuesday more changes to a Masters tournament that will be unlike any of the previous 83. The most unusual of all is ESPN’s popular college football pregame show taking place on a stage that overlooks Ike’s Pond and the ninth green of the Par 3 course.
It helps that ESPN is a broadcast partner of the Masters and will televise the opening two rounds.
The coverage typically begins on Wednesday with the Par 3 Contest, a showcase of past champions and current players before an enormous gallery that rarely lacks for big roars, such as the time Jack Nicklaus had his grandson play a shot and he made a hole-in-one.
The Par 3 Contest dates to 1960 and is a big part of the tradition at Augusta National, mainly the jinx that no one has ever won the Par 3 and the Masters in the same year.
So much about this Masters is different because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut down golf on March 13 and led Augusta National to postpone the Masters until Nov. 12-15, without spectators for the first time.
Because of the fall date and shorter daylight hours, the club said the weekday rounds would be played in threesomes off the first and 10th tees in morning and afternoon waves. The field remains set at 96 players who were eligible in April. Those who have qualified since then, such as PGA Tour winners Daniel Berger and Jim Herman, will not play until 2021.
The most notable was in 2017 when “College GameDay” was held in Times Square. It also was held on the USS San Diego in 2012 as part of a salute to veterans.
ESPN said host Rece Davis will be joined at Augusta National by analyst Kirk Herbstreit, former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard and former Georgia star David Pollack, among others.