The Nine LIV Golfers Who Could Be Playing Their Last Masters This Year

Nine LIV golfers playing in the Masters could be making the trip for the final time if they don't manage a good finish

Amen corner is crammed with patrons watching
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Masters is always the most eagerly-awaited of the four Majors given it’s the first of the year, but with PGA Tour and LIV Golf starts colliding at Augusta National this year it seems even more significant.

All four Majors will allow LIV golfers to play if they fit the qualifying criteria, which means we’ll get the best of the best all competing against each other around one of golf’s most iconic venues.

Some have said that playing in the LIV Golf format, with a 54-hole competition and shotgun start, will be a disadvantage – a theory dismissed by previous Masters champion Phil Mickelson.

Overall, 18 players from LIV Golf have qualified for the 2023 Masters and for some of them the pressure will be on as it could be their last trip down Magnolia Lane for a while.

With LIV Golf still not getting Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) points, players who qualified via being in the top 50 at the end of last year will really struggle to get in next year unless something changes.

So, unless they win a Major they otherwise qualify for in the meantime, this year could be their last time playing for that coveted Green Jacket.

That means a huge amount of pressure will be on the nine LIV players who are included in the 2023 Masters field, but could be playing for the last time if they don’t perform well enough.

The players under pressure are Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer, Talor Gooch, Harold Varner III, Jason Kokrak, Kevin Na, Louis Oosthuizen, Thomas Pieters and Mito Pereira.

A way these players can earn a return to the Masters next year is if they bank a top-12 finish at Augusta National in this year’s event – or if they finish in the top four in one of the other three Majors.

Mickelson wears the Green Jacket with a microphone in his hand

Phil Mickelson has a lifetime Masters exemption as a previous winner

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Of the other LIV Golf stars – six have won the Masters, so they will be able to play in the event for life – meaning Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Bubba Watson and Charl Schwartzel never have to worry about having to qualify again.

Major champions Cameron Smith, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka get five-year exemptions into all the other Majors so will get invites until 2027, 2025 and 2024 respectively.

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.