LIV Players Omitted From Thursday's Featured Groups At The Masters

Members of the breakaway circuit have been left out of the round one featured group coverage from Augusta

Talor Gooch, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson and Harold Varner playing a practice round ahead of the 2023 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Anticipation is at fever pitch ahead of the first men's Major of the year. The Masters tee times have been announced, with some star-studded groupings set to descend upon Augusta National.

Also announced were the four three-balls that would be included in the featured group coverage for round one, and they were perhaps most notable for those who weren't included.

It could be coincidence, of course, as the green jackets have remained fairly quiet on the ongoing divide in the men's game, but the four groups on Thursday are bereft of a single LIV Golf player.

Instead, they are made up of PGA Tour stalwarts, led by Tiger Woods as he makes his second start of the year alongside Viktor Hovland and Xander Schauffele at 10.18am local time (3.18pm BST)

Thursday's featured groups are:

10.18am EDT/3.18pm BST: Tiger Woods, Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele
10.42am EDT/3.42pm BST: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Cameron Young
1.36pm EDT/6.36pm BST: Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, Sam Bennett
2.00pm EDT/6.00pm BST: Jordan Spieth, Tommy Fleetwood, Tony Finau

As picked up on by No Laying Up, in each of the last three Masters tournaments, multiple players who since went on to join the breakaway circuit have been part of the featured group coverage from the famous Georgia venue.

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In 2022, LIV's Louis Oosthuizen, Joaquin Niemann, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and James Piot all made the grade, while in previous years, the likes of Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Reed and Cameron Smith have also been included.

Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley confirmed members of the Greg Norman-fronted tour who qualified for The Masters would be allowed to tee it up at the men's season-opening Major, but added he was "disappointed" by recent developments.

"Regrettably, recent actions have divided men's professional golf by diminishing the virtues of the game and the meaningful legacies of those who built it" Ridley said. "Although we are disappointed in these developments, our focus is to honour the tradition of bringing together a pre-eminent field of golfers this coming April."

Open champion Smith was given a press conference slot and it remains to be seen whether he or any of his colleagues form part of Friday's featured group coverage.

Andrew Wright
Freelance News Writer

A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he decided to go freelance and now covers a variety of topics for Golf Monthly. 


Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a scratch handicap. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.


As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.


What's in Andy's bag?

Driver: Callaway Mavrik Sub-Zero (9°)

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus (15°)

Driving iron: Titleist U500 (17°)

Irons: Mizuno mp32 (4-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 (50°, 54° and 58°)

Putter: Titleist Scotty Cameron Newport 2.5

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x