This year’s Rice Planters Amateur will look a bit different.
The storied amateur tournament that has had winners of the likes of Hal Sutton, Tom Lehman, Brooks Koepka, and even Brandel Chamblee throughout its 48-year history is not exempt from COVID-19 guidelines.
For the first time in tournament history, caddies will not be allowed at the event.
Although it's not unusual for amateur players to carry their own bags, many do bring friends, family, or coaches to caddie for them. That won't be allowed for this year’s edition of the Rice Planters.
College coaches who have already lost out on the opportunity to recruit at major southern summer tournaments like the Dogwood Invitational -- which was canceled due to the pandemic -- will have an opportunity to make up for lost time, albeit an abbreviated version of the normal tournament.
The Rice Planters has also been reduced by a round, taking the tournament from 72-holes down to 54-holes.
Coronavirus has also slimmed the field down to just 30 spots this year. Qualifying was also trimmed down with just five spots set aside for qualifiers outside of those who were exempt based on their 2019 Rice Planters finish (plus committee selections).
"At the end of the day, it's the same 18 holes, the same pin locations, the same everything," Austin Fulton told AmateurGolf.com. "Even with it being cut down, the field is going to be just as strong."
Fulton, a rising senior at Mississippi State leads the highlights the elite exempt list. He leads the talented field as he looks to defend his wire-to-wire 2019 title win during this year's unique circumstances.
"It (the Rice Planters) means a lot for me," Fulton said. "It was my first amateur win...Literally, since I left here last year I've looked forward to coming back this year to play again."
ABOUT THE Rice Planters Amateur
The Rice Planters Amateur was the inspiration of
amateur golfer, Dick Horne. During his first Porter
at the Niagara Falls Country Club in 1973, Horne
befriended the tournament's chairman Dick Harvey.
Harvey encouraged a receptive Horne to develop his
own southern tournament and, consequently, along
with other Porter Cup officials, shared enough useful
information to get Horne started in the South. The
Rice Planters quickly grew to become one of the top
amateur events in the country.
FORMAT AND ENTRY
The Rice Planters is played over
54 holes of stroke play. While
by invitation only, the tournament typically
holds a 90-player qualifier for the final five spots in
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