Posted April 07, 2020 04:04 pm
Buried beneath the news that Augusta National Golf Club “intends” to play the Masters during the week of November 9-15, the club announced that invites would be sent to professionals and amateurs who “would have qualified for our original April date.”
Subsequently, the club updated its invitee list on Masters.com and the field for the tournament is set with 96 invitees. That includes Graeme McDowell, who finished a career-best T-12 at Augusta in 2012 yet hasn’t played in the Masters since 2016, as well as first-timers Collin Morikawa, Scottie Scheffler and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
Those four players became eligible through category 19 of the 19 qualifications standards, squeezing inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings as of March 30.
McDowell was on the outside looking in as the deadline loomed, but even though the Players Championship was canceled, he vaulted from No. 51 after the Arnold Palmer Invitational to No. 49 during the final week of rankings. The move came just before the OWGR froze the rankings as professional golf tournaments were canceled and postponed around the globe due to coronavirus.
Morikawa, World No. 44, was No. 1039 after his pro debut at the RBC Canadian Open in June and climbed into the top 100 for the first time after winning the opposite-field Barracuda Championship. He jumped seven spots after finishing T-9 at API.
Scheffler, World No. 45, had been flirting with the top 50 ever since he finished third at The American Express to jump to No. 51, and he finally broke through with a T-15 at API.
The South African Bezuidenhout, World No. 47, rode a runner-up finish at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and victory at the Dimension Data Pro-Am into the top 50 and held his turf with solid finishes at the WGC Mexico Championship (T-29) and API (T-18).
“We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials,” Augusta National club chairman Fred Ridley wrote on Monday. “Provided that occurs and we can conduct the 2020 Masters, we intend to invite those professionals and amateurs who would have qualified for our original April date.”
The total of 96 invitees is larger than the field at the last two Masters, which consisted of 87.
A spokesperson for the Masters confirmed that any winners of PGA Tour events leading up to the November date for the 84th Masters will only be eligible for the 2021 Masters in April. That presents a scenario where a player could win multiple times in the lead up to November — potentially both the PGA Championship and U.S. Open — and not be in the field at the Masters.