No amateur has ever won the Masters. In fact, no amateur has finished in the top 10 at this tournament since the 1960s. The reasons for this are multifaceted and probably don't fall within the purview of this article, but the point is that none of the six amateurs in the 2019 Masters field are going to contend for a green jacket this year. The days of a non-professional fulfilling Bobby Jones' dream are pretty much over.
That's not to say none of these six will find success at Augusta National, though. There are future professionals in this group, and I think at least a few have a shot at playing all four days in what will be a dream week for them all. Let's rank them from most likely to be low am this year to least likely.
1. Viktor Hovland (World Amateur Golf Ranking: 2): He's not even the best player on his own college team, but the reigning U.S. Amateur champion is easily the best am in this field. He also might be the most confident. "You've got Tiger out there and Jordan Spieth, those guys standing right next to them on the range, that's a little different," Hovland said recently. "That's a little change, but they're just normal people. They hit the ball really well, and they do stuff that's really, really good. But I still think, if I play my game, I can beat those guys. That's kind of the mindset I think you need going into those tournaments. You can't just be awestruck forever, but it's pretty cool."
2. Takumi Kanaya (7): To me, it's a pretty clear upper tier of Hovland and Kanaya and then everyone else in this amateur field. Kanaya played the Sony Open in January, beat Bubba Watson by a stroke and missed the cut by just three. He'll try to become just the seventh non-American to score low am honors at Augusta and the second player from Japan to do so (Hideki Matsuyama did it in 2011) after, like Kanaya, winning the Asia-Pacific Amateur. "It's simply like a dream come true to me," said Kanaya after winning the event last October to get to Augusta. "I always dreamed of playing in The Masters and The Open Championship. … I received a call from Hideki Matsuyama when I walked off the course, and that was amazing. He won this title twice, and I'd love to come close to playing as well as he did."
3. Jovan Rebula (40): Ernie Els' nephew (!) became just the second South African to ever win The Amateur last summer. The Auburn student likely won't ever find as much success at Augusta as Uncle Ern did, but hopefully he enjoys the walk a little bit better. "When a thing stings you it keeps stinging you," Els told the New York Post recently. "When it gives to you it keeps on giving. I've seen that with Gary Player. I've seen it with Jack [Nicklaus]. I've got a love-hate relationship with the place. It was always almost like a curse to me. It was not a romantic deal to me. It was a f---ing nightmare for the most part."
4. Kevin O'Connell (73): The "old man" of this group (he's 30) has a pretty crazy story. O'Connell is a former pro golfer who was reinstated as an amateur but planned on turning pro again before he win the U.S. Mid-Am last summer. The plan for a second pro career is on hold because, you know, he gets to play in the Masters and U.S. Open this year. O'Connell is also a former ACC Freshman of the Year, but he didn't improve as college moved on and gave up on pro golf the first time after toiling on mini tours. A decade later, though, and he gets what 99 percent of other golfers never experience: A tournament tee time at Augusta National.
5. Alvaro Ortiz (80): The SEC is well represented this year between Rebula (Auburn) and Ortiz (Arkansas). Ortiz is the first Mexican to play the Masters in 40 years, and he had to endure a series of near-misses to secure it. After twice finishing second in the Latin American Amateur, he finally won it earlier this year after posting a 66 in the finale. He was a good SEC player but not as good as Rebula and certainly not in the class of Hovland at Oklahoma State.
6. Devon Bling (117): The UCLA student-athlete nearly won an iconic U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach last summer, but given his results since then (just one top 10 at top-tier amateur events), that feels like less of a trend and more of the most fortuitous stretch of hot golf of his life. I do like how he's preparing for Augusta, though.