2018 Masters field, participants: Only 80 golfers have qualified for Augusta so far
With three months left before the first major, let's look at the field
The Masters is less than 100 days away, and the smallest annual major field is starting to round into shape. There are a variety of ways to qualify for the most prestigious event in golf, but only 80 golfers have done so thus far.
According to the Augusta Chronicle, 82 had qualified by the end of 2016 and last year's field eventually included 93 golfers. So there's time, but it's running out as more tournaments elapse and spots go unfilled.
Let's look at the 80-golfer field as it stands right now with highlights from each group.
Masters winners (21): This is the biggest category that comprises the 80, although it's not the most loaded. With Tiger Woods' return in December, this group includes him, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson. On the flip side, there are several folks from this group that have as good of a chance of winning in April as I do.
Other major winners from the last 3-5 years (12): This includes the last five years' worth of U.S. Open, Open Championship and PGA Championship winners as well as the last three years' worth of Players Championship victors. Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler and Brooks Koepka are all in this group. If you're wagering on the event, it would be wise to pick a winner from here.
Amateur winners (5): This includes the U.S. Amateur winner and runner-up, the British Amateur champ, the Asia-Pacific champ, the Mid-Am winner and will soon include the Latin America Amateur champion. The most compelling player from this group is probably Matt Parziale, the Mid-Am champ, who doubles as a firefighter in Massachusetts.
Top 12 from previous Masters (7): This is always a fun one to break down. It reminds you that Kevin Chappell (!), Ryan Moore and Russell Henley (!) finished in the top 12 at the Masters in 2017.
Top four in other majors (7): Wait, Haotong Li and Rafael Cabrera-Bello finished in the top four of The Open last year? Also, I did a double take at seeing Louis Oosthuizen's name in this group (he finished top four at the PGA Championship) because I often think of him as a Masters champion. He's not, of course, but he did go to a playoff with Bubba Watson and got taken down by one of the great shots of all time.
Winners of PGA Tour events (14): This is a maybe surprisingly strong group that includes Marc Leishman, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Billy Horschel, Wesley Bryan and Xander Schauffele.
Tour Championship qualifiers (6): This is the Tony Finau, Webb Simpson, Jon Rahm, Charley Hoffman group.
Top 50 in OWGR at end of 2017 (8): This is the group Brandt Snedeker tried to join by playing the Indonesian Masters at the end of last year. He didn't make it, but Alex Noren, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Tyrrell Hatton and Matt Fitzpatrick did.
The only other ways for a golfer to make it to Augusta National in April is to win an event between now and then or to get inside the top 50 in the week before the 2018 Masters. Some interesting names that are currently not in include Ian Poulter (No. 56 in the world), Snedeker (No. 63), Cameron Smith (No. 57), Lee Westwood (No. 66) and Charles Howell III (No. 67).
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