There are fewer amateurs competing in the 2021 Masters than normal due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Usually there's at least five amateurs in this field, but with multiple amateur championships canceled, only the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur are sending representatives to the 85th edition of the Masters at Augusta National.
Joe Long (British Am), Ty Strafaci (U.S. Am) and Charles Osborne (U.S. Am) are your three Masters participants this time around. Candidly, none of the three has a real shot at weekend contention like Viktor Hovland did in 2019 or Bryson DeChambeau did in 2016. Still, they're all solid amateur golfers who earned their invites by surviving the match-play gauntlet on both sides of the pond.
Let's take a closer look at all three of the ams playing the Masters this year before they tee it up on Thursday in maybe the most overwhelming round of golf they will have ever played. Rankings listed below are based on the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
2021 Masters amateurs
Ty Strafaci (No. 11): The reigning U.S. Amateur champ won at Bandon Dunes last summer and will turn pro after the Walker Cup in May. Strafaci enjoyed a nice career at Georgia Tech before exiting before his final semester earlier this year to go back to Florida. As he says it, that was the start of becoming an adult. Interestingly, Strafaci used to be roommates with Andy Ogletree, who was low amateur at the November Masters where he finished T34 alongside DeChambeau and Adam Scott. Strafaci, as reigning U.S. Amateur champ, will play the first two rounds this year with reigning Masters champion Dustin Johnson and is the favorite to join follow in Ogletree's footsteps (again) as low amateur at this event.
Joe Long (No. 46): Long took the British Amateur last year by beating Joe Harvey 4&3 in the finale at Royal Birkdale. He missed the cut at a pair of European Tour events following that triumph, but he still gets the spoils that come with being the top amateur in Britain, and that starts with the Masters this week. He has not competed much since the British Am because of the pandemic, but he'll spend much of his 2021 in the United States as a Walker Cup appearance in May and a U.S. Open ticket in June at Torrey Pines await. Long will also contend in the Open Championship at Royal St. George's in July.
"Wow, when you say all the exemptions, it still hasn't hit me. It's going to be incredible," Long said after winning last year. "This is what I have worked hard for since I started playing golf. I really stuck in there and battled; I am just so chuffed with it really."
Charles Osborne (No. 247): The runner-up at the U.S. Amateur at Bandon Dunes goes by "Ollie," and at age 21, he is the youngest player in the field. He shot 77 on Day 1 of the U.S. Amateur but rebounded with an astounding 64 to make it to the match-play portion of the event where he got beat by Strafaci in the finals. Since the start of 2020, Osborne has just three top-10 finishes in 15 tournaments, but thankfully for him, one of them came in the event that gets you an invite to Augusta National.
Osborne qualified into the Barracuda Championship (in his hometown of Reno) that Collin Morikawa won two years ago, so this won't be his first run at a professional event. Still, I'm pretty sure the Old Greenwood Golf Course at Tahoe Mountain Club doesn't have a Magnolia Lane to drum up the nerves every day.
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