Masters Golf Qualifications
Billed as "a tradition unlike any other," the Masters golf tournament–held every April at the Augusta National Golf Club Augusta, Georgia–is unquestionably the most famous golf tournament in the United States, perhaps in the world. It is the first of four men's professional golf major championships. Home to pristine greens, pimento cheese sandwiches and the world's elite players, it's no easy feat for a golfer to qualify for the Masters tournament.
Players who are ranked in the top 50 in the world according to the Official World Golf Ranking–either immediately before the Masters or in the final rankings from the previous calendar year– are automatic qualifiers and are invited to the tournament. This has caused controversy in recent years as golfers like Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Bubba Watson, and Bryson Dechambeau made the move to LIV Golf and cannot earn OWGR points from those events. This makes it harder for LIV Golfers to win the Green Jacket or even qualify. But according to Chairman Fred Ridley, these golfers can still participate much to the dismay of LIV Golf critic Rory Mcilroy.
So do those players who have won certain PGA Tour events in the past year, qualified for the previous year's Tour Championship or finished in the top 30 on the final tour money list from the previous calendar year. Winners of The Players Championship the past three years also earn a trip to Augusta and those qualifying for the season-ending tour championship earn a trip as well. Players who win a PGA Tour event that awards full Fedex Cup points from January to April of that year also qualify.
Amateurs competing in the Masters stay in the clubhouse's famed Crow's Nest, a tradition dating to the tournament's beginning. This includes a number of American amateurs and international players.
Amateur players who receive invitations to the tournament are the U.S. Amateur Champion, British Amateur Champion, Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion, U.S. Amateur Public Links Champ and the U.S. Mid-Amateur Champion. The runner-up in the U.S. Amateur also qualifies. Because of their amateur status, these players cannot accept prize money from the tournament.
Playing well at the Masters can earn a player a return trip to the golf course, as can a strong showing at one of the other three major championships. Winners of the U.S. Open Championship, British Open champions and PGA Champions from the past five years are invited to the Masters. If you are a Masters Champion, you earn a lifetime invitation. Under this exemption, Tiger Woods was able to compete in and win in 2019 without meeting other criteria and Phil Mickelson is able to compete in this year’s Masters in spite of his LIV Golfer status.
In addition to the past champions, the top 16 finishers from the previous Masters, the top eight finishers from the prior year's U.S. Open, the top four finishers from the previous year's British Open and PGA Championship, and the current Olympic Gold Medalist also earn spots in the Masters.