The Masters is the toughest tournament to qualify for in the world. Only 88 players will be taking part in the 2023 Masters Invitational Tournament, the 87th edition of the prestigious golf tournament.
The field is much smaller than the over majors. The US Open usually has around 156 players, and the British Open and PGA Championship have nearly the same amount.
The two Opens are a true open championship. Any golfer with a respectable handicap can enter local qualifiers around the US for the US Open or in Britian for the British Open. The PGA Championship has similar qualifiers, but they are only open to certified PGA Professionals, such as the one at your local club.
The Masters, on the other hand, has a strict list of criteria, of which one must be met for an invitation into the field. Some are obvious, like the past champions are exempt for life. And, other major winners from the last five years are also exempt. Some of the other popular criteria are players that are in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings on New Years’ Day and after the Sunday directly preceding the Masters, as well as top 12 finishes from last year’s Masters, plus top 4 finishes from the other three majors. All 30 players who qualify for the Tour Championship, also make it, as well as all the major amateur champions.
But, one big change is coming, as now the defending NCAA Champion will be granted entry into the Masters.
This morning Chairman Ridley announced additional paths to compete at Augusta National. #themasters pic.twitter.com/833v9qlg4v
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 5, 2023
This is big. In recent years, college golf has ballooned in popularity, and on many graphics on golf television coverage, the alma maters of the players are listed. Players like Thomas Pieters, Bryson DeChambeau, Aaron Wise, and Matthew Wolff have all won the NCAA title recently, as have players like Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, and Phil Mickelson in the past.
This will just add to the pressure for these college kids, but it will be quite the reward.
The Masters begins on Thursday.