AUGUSTA GA — Masters week is finally here. There will plenty of stories in the first major championship this season, which starts Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club.
No. 1 golfer in the world 1 golfer Scottie SchefflerWe will attempt to become the first backward-to-back Masters winner in more than twenty years. Rory McIlroyWe will attempt to win the career grand slam once more. Tiger WoodsAfter making the cut for 22 consecutive years last year, I will give it another try.
There are 18 players from LIV Golf League in this 88-player field for 87th Masters. Six of them are past champions Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Charl SchwartzelAnd Bubba WatsonThis might make for an interesting Champions Dinner Tuesday night.
Both tours’ players are expected to be on their best behaviour given their environment this week. Boys, keep your tees for yourself..
Here are the 88 competitors in the Masters, starting with those who can win and ending with the amateurs.
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Guys who can win | Everything goes well
Miracles happen | Happy to make it into the cut | Past champions | Amateurs
Tier I: The guys who are able to win
Here are the legitimate contenders. They have the skills, the guts, and the nerves to deal with four rounds of pressure on one the most treacherous courses in the world.
He is the defending Masters champion, and has won more PGA Tour events than anyone in the past 14 months. He is attempting to be the fourth Augusta National winner in a row. The other three were Jack, Faldo and Tiger.
What is the only thing you will hear this week other than “a tradition unlike no other?” McIlroy is attempting to complete the career grand-slam. He changed his driver, putter, and needed only 19 putts in a practice round at Augusta. Rory, it is time to get it done.
We cannot confirm or deny Rory made 19 putts at Augusta last Thursday. pic.twitter.com/i7gs5JMtIL
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) March 22, 2023
Rahm has won five global victories since November, which could be argued to be better than Scheffler. He has four top-10s in six Augusta National events. Rahm has shown some improvement in his game this season, even though he did cool off after the PGA Tour moved to the East Coast.
Morikawa is a two-time major champion, but he hasn’t won a win since the 2021 Open Championship held at Royal St. George’s. Morikawa is one of best ball strikers in the world, but his putting skills are still a concern. He finished fifth at the Masters last season.
The current Open Championship winner has been in the top 10 in all three of his Augusta starts, including a tie in 2020 for second and a tie in 2022 for third. Smith is not a regular player in the LIV Golf League’s tournaments, so his readiness to play will be a concern. Smith is LIV Golf’s best hope to make Sunday very uncomfortable.
Homa joined the PGA Tour’s elite, with five victories in a row since February 2021. Although his record in majors isn’t great — his only top-20 in 12 pro starts was a tie for thirteenth at the 2022 PGA Championship — his game seems perfect for Augusta National. In two of his three previous Masters starts, he missed the cut.
Since July, Finau has won three times and is a regular participant in major events. He has 13 top-25s from 26 majors starts, including three top-10s at the Masters. Finau could win a major championship soon, possibly even this week.
Schauffele was close to winning his elusive first major at The Masters. He tied for second in 2019 as well as third in 2021. He is more than capable of making a back nine charge on Sunday. Schauffele will need more accuracy off the tee, but all else is good.
The 2015 Masters champion is an expert on the course. Spieth also won the Masters in 2015. He has four other top-three finishes at Augusta. After hitting two balls into Rae’s Creek’s 12th hole par-3, Spieth missed the cut his first year.
Hovland placed 27th in Augusta in both of his starts. His tie for fourth at St. Andrews’ 150th Open in July seemed to be a major breakthrough in majors. The Norwegian player can play with a driver, irons and a golf club in his hands. But is his putting and short game good enough to win at the Masters?
JT is now not in the Top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time since August 2017. This ends a streak that lasted 293 weeks. The former world No. 1 said that being ranked eighth “pisses him off”, so being eleventh should drive him even more. In his six previous Augusta starts, he was in the top 25 and tied for eighth in 2022. To win, he’ll need to putt better than he did this season.
DJ may be so good that one day he’ll just show up at Augusta National to flip a switch — but maybe not. The 2020 Masters champion won LIV Golf’s inaugural season in 2022, but has not played well this season.
Im was the first Asian player to be runner-up in his Masters debut in 2020. He held the lead in the first round and tied for eighth in 2022. Six of his ten rounds at Augusta were played under par.
Cantlay, who is considered to be one of the top players in the game, has only finished in the top five in a major championship. He tied for third at the 2019 PGA Championship. He missed the cut and finished tied for 39th in his two previous Masters starts.
One would expect that a player, who was runner up in his first Masters start but tied for sixth in another, would be higher up on the list. Zalatoris is still trying to get his feet under him. A back injuryHe was unable to work for over four months due to this. He tied for 11th at Sentry Tournament of Champions and was single fourth at Genesis, but hasn’t done much else. Due to illness, he withdrew his participation in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
The reigning PGA Tour Rookie-of-the Year is likely more than ready for the role of bridesmaid. He was runner up in five of his 21 international starts, including a loss at Match Play. He missed the cut at his Masters start in 2022. However he tied for 3rd at the PGA Championship, and was solely second at The Open. He will need to improve his short game and putting to be able to compete at the Masters.
The 2021 Masters champion still has a neck injury that seems to be changing. Because of the injury, he pulled out of WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play after only two matches. Matsuyama was unable to achieve more than two top-10s in his 12 first starts this season.
Burns’ win in Austin at the match play event was a reminder of just how talented he is. Burns, just like Homa, is still looking for the major championship recipe to join the elite of the game. He hasn’t finished in the top-10 in any of his 10 major starts. In 2022, he missed the cut at the Masters.
Day is back in the field after he missed the Masters in 2022 for the first time since 2012. In 13 starts, Day has six top-10s. He also tied for fifth at Match Play and was solo fifth at WM Phoenix Open. Day has three top-5s in Augusta, including a tie at second in 2011.
Smith and Conners are both the only two golfers who have achieved top-10s at each of the three Masters. Conners, a Canadian golfer, was tied for 10th in 2020. He was also eighth in 2021, and sixth in 2022. Conners’ form has been poor lately, particularly his short game and putting, but Augusta National seems like it brings out his best.
Lowry, who was the 2019 Open Championship winner at Royal Portrush had a breakthrough at Augusta last year, tying for 3rd. It was his third straight top-25 finish at Masters. After Brian Martin’s departure, Lowry now has Darren Reynolds as his caddie.
Tier II: If everything goes well
Here are some sleeper candidates for slipping on a green jacket. The list includes past champions as well as runners-up whose games are still in progress. Augusta will it all come together?
Rose was a two-time Masters winner and rose has held at most a share of lead in eight rounds at Masters. This is the highest total for any player to have not won a green jacket. He was in the top 25 in 13 out of 17 starts, including an individual seventh in 2021. His victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February showed he has something left in the tank.
The 2018 Masters champion has also finished in the top 10 twice, tying for eighth in 2021 and 10th in 2020. In LIV Golf’s two first events, he was just one stroke under par.
Hoge tied for 39th at 7over in his Masters debut last season. Hoge’s chances of making it to Augusta National are very good. He is the leader in strokes won: approach to green, and 24th in strokes won: tee-to-green on the PGA Tour.
Augusta National has puzzled many first-timers. However, Im and Zalatoris proved they can play well. Kim, who has won twice on tour before, was a lot more relaxed in his five previous starts.
The former University of Georgia star is making the Masters debut since 2019, when it was 43rd. He is the leader in driving and has shown a greater commitment to his short game. His results were solid this year.
Fleetwood appears to be on the cusp of his first U.S. victory (he has nine global wins), and tied for fourth at both the CJ Cup Championship and the Valspar Championship. He was in the top 20 at three of his five Masters starts, including a tie for the 14th place last year.
The U.S. Open champion has had a poor run lately. He has only one top-10 finish in nine PGA Tour starts, and has missed four cuts since February. He tied for 14th place at the Masters last season, his second-best career finish.
Niemann, another player from the LIV Golf League was tied for 40th and 35th in his two Masters starts. He is Chile’s most successful golfer having won twice the PGA Tour.
Hatton scored an 8-over 80 last year in the final round. Hatton also called Augusta National unfair at times and said that the course doesn’t suit his eyes. Hatton finished 18th at the 2021 Masters, but has struggled elsewhere. He finished second at Players and has played well through 2023.
After qualifying for the Tour Championship last year, Theegala will be making his Masters debut. Augusta might be concerned about his erratic accuracy off of the tee.
Gooch finished 14th in his 2022 Masters debut. Keep this in mind bring your pants, Talor. Shorts are allowed in the LIV Golf League, but not at Augusta National.
Henley is the leader in driving accuracy, but his iron play has been poor this season. He finished tied for 11th at Masters 2017 and 15th in 2018.
In his first Masters appearance last season, the Irishman finished 27th. He won the Butterfield Bermuda Championship last October and was tied for third at Mayakoba.
Bradley has a poor track record at Augusta with only one top-25 finish in six previous starts. His game is improving after he won the Zozo Championship in October, and was the Farmers Insurance Open runner-up.
Pereira, a Chilean, held a lead to the 72nd green at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills last season. He’s clearly talented. He didn’t play much since moving to LIV Golf but tied for sixth at Saudi International.
Ancer, another LIV Golf player missed the cut at last year’s Masters. In 2020, he was tied for 13th and again for 26th the following year.
Minjee Lee is Minjee Lee’s younger brother. He finished second at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. He also placed sixth at Players. Lee finished 14th at 2022 Masters. His sister caddied for Lee during the Par 3 Contest.
Kim has three top-25 finishes in six Masters starts, including a tie in 2021 for 12th. He is known for his legendary ability to His putter was brokenWhen he slammed it into turf and bent the shaft, he was tied for sixth in 2021. After the round, he was tied for sixth.
Na, captain for the LIV Golf League’s Iron Heads GC, has compiled a string of impressive top-15 finishes at Masters: a tie in 2020 for 13th, for 12th 2021 and for 14th 2022.
Tier III: Hey, miracles happen
They are the long shot. This tier includes former champions, players who are struggling with their form, and some first-timers.
HVIII made a great debut at the Masters last season, finishing in the top 10 after the first two rounds. He fell short of his goals on Saturday with an 8-over 80, but he rebounded on Sunday with a 3-under 69.
The 2013 Masters champion didn’t play well this season, finishing outside the top 30 in only four of his five Masters starts.
Kokrak, who was a member of the LIV Golf League in the summer, finished 14th at 2022 Masters. He was the first to score an ace in the Par 3 Contest at the fourth hole.
Jason Kokrak is the first Ace of the Day. #themasters pic.twitter.com/OE0391L2oQ
— The Masters (@TheMasters) April 6, 2022
Schwartzel, a surprising Masters champion in 2011, quietly finished three straight top 26 finishes, including a tie for 10th in 2017. The solo third place finish for the South African player in 2017 was achieved by Schwartzel.
Kirk was unable to return to the Masters for seven years. He qualified by winning February’s Honda Classic. Kirk, who is located about 100 miles from Augusta in Georgia, missed the cut in 2016’s latest start.
The four-time major champion used his bully skills to get onto the leaderboard at majors. His confidence seemed to be at an all time low and his body seemed to be on the brink of collapse in his first season of LIV Golf. He didn’t even make it to the top 25 in the two first LIV Golf events, but he played. Better in the first round in Orlando. In each of his previous Masters starts, he missed the cut.
English improved in his three Masters starts. He went from a missed cut to tie for 42nd to tie for 21st. After a long layoff due to hip surgery, he has been up and down. However, there have been some bright spots like a tie for 12th at Genesis and for second at Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Kitayama, another first-timer showed a lot of determination in winning the Arnold Palmer Invitational. This was his first tour victory. He reached the quarterfinals in match play.
Fox, from New Zealand finished in the top 30 in all three of his tour starts this season. His father, Grant, was a All Blacks rugby player. His grandfather, Merv Wallace (a renowned cricketer) was his grandfather.
The five-time Masters champion’s health issues and durability will be concerns whenever he tees up, but he made it to the cut and finished 47th at the 2022 Masters. It was his. First start in 508 DaysAfter suffering severe injuries in a car accident in February 2021. The good news is that Tiger’s weather forecast is much warmer than last year, when he was severely injured in a car accident.
Harman’s form has been less than stellar lately, but he is capable of putting together four great rounds at Augusta. After scoring 3 under in each round of 2021’s first two rounds, Harman tied for 12th.
Horschel is one of the best players on tour these past few seasons but Augusta National has been a puzzle to him. He has never played a round in the 60s during eight previous starts. He shot 70 five times.
Oosthuizen was the leaderboard at a major championship. Now, it’s not so. He withdrew after the first round of the Masters because of an undisclosed injured, tied for 60th at PGA Championship and missed both the U.S. Open & The Open cuts.
The highly talented Belgian player shared the lead in the second round and tied for fourth in his Masters debut. He missed the cut in two of his previous starts, in 2018 & 2022.
Poston, a two time winner on tour, has found it difficult to compete in the 2022-23 season. He has performed better recently, placing 10th at Valspar Championships and ninth at Match Play.
Meronk is a two-time winner of the DP World Tour and will be the first Polish player to compete in the Masters. He said he would “try my best” to grow golf in his country, which might be true.
Hughes won the Sanderson Farms Championship and reached the quarterfinals in Match Play. He was accompanied by fellow Canadian. Mike WeirWe were the co-winners in last year’s rain-shortened Par 3 Contest.
Garcia missed the cut in the three subsequent tournaments after he won his first major at 2017 Masters. He tied for 23rd in last year’s tournament.
For the 2016 surprise champion, the Masters has been feast and famine. He missed the cut in four out of six of his previous starts, tied 25th in 2020, and 12th last season.
It is difficult to predict what the two-time Masters champion will bring. He missed a lot last season because of a knee injury. He has only made four starts since the PGA Championship in May. He missed the cut in only one of his 14 previous Augusta starts.
The Austrian-born players had a successful debut at Masters 2022, where he tied for 30th. Since October’s loss to Mackenzie Hughes at Sanderson Farms Championship, he hasn’t done much.
Tier IV: Happy making the cut
Unless something miraculous happens, they are unlikely to be among the contenders. Some know-it alls may have said the same thing about Danny Willett, Charl Schwartzzel, and others. Trevor ImmelmanThey won unexpectedly, too.
DeChambeau once claimed that Augusta National was a par-67 golf course. However, he’s having trouble breaking par in the LIV Golf League. DeChambeau has been tied for 34th, 46th and missed making the cut at The Masters since that bold statement in November 2020.
Kisner is going through one his most difficult times in his career. He changed swing coaches, and equipment. In five of his seven Masters starts, he made it to the final.
The 2019 U.S. Open winner isn’t having much success at Augusta National. He missed the cut in five out of seven previous starts. He was 32nd in 2019, and 40th in 2021.
Lee, a two-time winner of the AT&T Byron NelsonLast year, he missed the cut in the first Masters start.
Canadian player, Michael A. Smith, won the RSM Classic in November. This will be his first appearance in a major championship.
Moore won his first tour win at the Valspar Championship in March 19th, earning him a Masters invitation. It was his 46th career start.
The story of Stallings invitation being sentA Georgian man with the same name as you might be awarded the most airtime and ink for the week.
Noren is a DP World Tour winner 10 times, most recently in 2018, but he missed the cut in nearly half his 32 major appearances.
Molinari has had a difficult time since he led by 2 strokes into the final round. He lost to Woods in 2019. The Italian player has fallen to 125th place in the OWGR since then.
Higa, who has won six times in Japan on the Japan Golf Tour, including four in 2020, is making his Masters debut with a special invitation. He was the winner of Japan’s Order of Merit and is currently 81st in OWGR.
Champ was not able to make the cut this season, having missed the cut in eight of 10 tour starts. He’ll try to recreate the magic at Augusta where he tied 10th last year.
Tier V: Past champions
They are here because they have green jackets and the right to return and play. But, their days of competing are over.
After missing last year’s tournament, the three-time Masters champion returns home to Augusta National. Mickelson, 52 years old, placed 32nd and 27th in the LIV Golf League’s two first events. “Lefty”, in his three previous major starts, missed the cut.
Johnson, who won a green jersey in 2007, is still capable to put together a good week. He was tied for 12th at Honda Classic. Johnson is now preparing to lead the U.S. team at the Ryder Cup in Rome in September.
The two-time Masters champion continues to win tournaments, even at age 65. Since February 2022, he has won three times on PGA Tour Champions. Langer finished 29th in 2020 Masters. This will mark his 40th Augusta National appearance.
Weir was the first Canadian left-hander to win the green jacket in 2003. He also tied for 51st place in 2020.
The 1992 Masters champion tied for 38th in 2018. Couples, 63 was awarded his 14th PGA Tour Champions win in October.
Singh, the 2000 Masters champion will make his 30th appearance in the tournament. He last made it into the tournament in 2018 when he was 49th.
The two-time Masters champion finished in the top 15 13 times between 1989 and 2006.
He is expected to make 40th start as the 1987 Masters champion. He was born in Augusta, and was a teenager who worked on the scoreboard at Augusta. He recorded a 2-under 70 in his first round two years ago, his lowest round since 2009.
On the 35th anniversary his 1988 Masters victory, in the which he birdied from a fairway bunker on 18th hole, he will be remembered. Mark CalcavecchiaLyle could be his last tournament start by just 1 stroke. Lyle, 65 years old, has recently announced his retirement from the PGA Tour Champions.
Tier VI: Amateurs
They’re the Crow’s Nest’s newest players and the most gifted (and most fortunate!) amateur players in the entire world. They want to do what? Ryan Moore(tied for 13th place in 2005), Hideki (27th in 2011, and Bryson (21st 2016) did before turning professional.
Sargent, a Vanderbilt sophomore who is also a golfer, has been invited to the Masters for the first time since 2000. He was the first freshman to win an NCAA Individual Title since 2007. He is the No. He is the No. 1 amateur in the world.
The Texas A&M star won the 2022 U.S. Amateur at Ridgewood Country Club, Paramus, New Jersey. He is the sixth-ranked amateur around the world.
Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira
Oliveira, a native of Argentina, was invited to the Latin American Amateur Championship in January. He scored a Record total of 23 underpar.
The South African player became the second-youngest winner of the 127-year-old British Amateur Championship when he won at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in June.
To earn a spot in this field, the Australian player won the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship held in Thailand in October.
Bennett finished second to the Georgia Southern star at the 2022 U.S. Amateur. He is currently playing in the Eagles’ fifth season.
McClean, a Northern Irish national, won the 2022 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Erin Hills, Wisconsin. He is an optometrist based in Belfast.
Editor’s note – If the Valero Texas Open winner hasn’t qualified for the Masters yet, he will be added to the field.