The Masters carries a mystique like no other tournament, with its position in the calendar as the first Major of the year and the only one of the four to take place at the same venue, the famously exclusive Augusta National.
Even being fortunate enough to experience the tournament as one of the crowd is an achievement, while for many people, playing the course is a largely forlorn hope.
Despite that, there are 19 ways to qualify for The Masters. Major wins offer a surefire route, with winners of the other three showpiece events guaranteed a place at Augusta National for the next five years. While that brings a certain degree of security, you can also guarantee a place for the next year by finishing in the top four, or ties, in the PGA Championship, US Open and Open Championship.
Before the Majors even come around, there’s another way to guarantee entry for three years, and that’s to claim victory in the unofficial fifth Major, The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Meanwhile, any player who wins a PGA Tour event that awards a full point allocation to the season-ending Tour Championship between the previous Masters and the current one is guaranteed a place for that tournament.
Consistency on the PGA Tour is rewarded as well. So, any of the 30 players reaching the Tour Championship also has a spot for the following year. But what about players on other tours?
There are options there too. While claiming a place in the world’s top 50 appears to be getting harder for those beyond the PGA Tour, players who achieve it by the final week of the calendar year claim a spot for the following April’s tournament, while a similar prize is on offer for those in the top 50 the week before The Masters.
There are also slots for the following year’s Masters for the US Amateur Champion and runner-up. Invites are similarly extended to the British Amateur Champion, the Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion, the Latin America Amateur Champion and the US Mid-Amateur Champion. Meanwhile, if it’s an Olympic year, the gold medalist in the Games receives an invite for the next tournament.
Special invites can also be sent at the discretion of The Masters Committee. This year, the lucky special invitation recipients are Japan Golf Tour 2022 Order of Merit winner Kazuki Higa and reigning NCAA Division I Men’s Individual Champion Gordon Sargent.
For those players only guaranteed a place for one year, or who are facing their final appearance before their exemption expires, there are two ways to take the uncertainty out of the equation for the following year. The easiest is to finish in the top 12 or ties in the Masters the player is qualified for tournament.
Surely, though, the way to inspire most envy is by winning The Masters. After all, not only do those players get to wear the famous Green Jacket, but they needn’t worry about which qualifying route to consider for the following year, or any other for that matter - champions can come back each year for life.
Below is a list of the ways to qualify for The Masters, per the official website.
The Masters Qualifying Criteria 2023
1. Masters Tournament Champions (lifetime)
2. US Open Champions (honorary, non-competing after five years)
3. The Open Champions (honorary, non-competing after five years)
4. PGA Champions (honorary, non-competing after five years)
5. Winners of The Players Championship (three years)
6. Current Olympic Gold Medalist (one year)
7. Current US Amateur Champion (7-A) (honorary, non-competing after one year) and the runner-up (7-B) to the current US Amateur Champion
8. Current The Amateur Champion (honorary, non-competing after one year)
9. Current Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion (one year)
10. Current Latin America Amateur Champion (one year)
11. Current US Mid-Amateur Champion (one year)
12. The first 12 players, including ties, in the previous year's Masters Tournament
13. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's US Open
14. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's The Open Championship
15. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year's PGA Championship
16. Individual winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship, from previous Masters to current Masters
17. Those qualifying for the previous year's season-ending Tour Championship
18. The 50 leaders on the Final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year
19. The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published during the week prior to the current Masters Tournament
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Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories.
He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game.
Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course.
Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.
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