There will have been sighs of relief among some LIV Golf players on hearing that Augusta National will allow them to play in the Masters.
As things stand, 16 LIV Golf players will now receive invites to the 2023 Major following months of speculation that they could be excluded following their decisions to move to the controversial organisation.
While some of the players were merely awaiting confirmation that wouldn’t be the case to rubberstamp their appearances next April, others have had to wait late in the year to ensure their invites, such was the precarious nature of their qualification credentials.
There are a number of ways to qualify for the Masters, with several LIV Golf players ultimately being eligible via more than one route. For example, Cameron Smith qualifies thanks to several achievements, including winning The Open, his Official World Golf Ranking, Players Championship win and appearance in the Tour Championship. Nevertheless, that first Major win trumps the others, as it ensures he qualifies for the next five years.
The most surefire way of guaranteeing a place at The Masters is to win the tournament. Anyone who does is promised entry each year for life. LIV Golf has taken pride in the number of high-profile players it has attracted during its inaugural season, and the extent of that is perhaps best evidenced by the number of former Masters champions among its number. No fewer than six LIV Golf players have worn the famous Green Jacket.
The half-dozen who will qualify for The Masters via that route are Phil Mickelson, whose first of a hat-trick of wins at Augusta National came in 2004, two-time winner Bubba Watson, 2011 winner Charl Schwartzel, 2017 victor Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, who succeeded the Spaniard as champion and Dustin Johnson, who won the trophy in 2020.
LIV Golf also boasts three players who have won other Majors within the last five years and are eligible based on that criteria. Brooks Koepka claimed the 2019 PGA Championship as the most recent of his four Major wins, meaning he is eligible up to 2024 as things stand. Fellow American Bryson DeChambeau has only one Major win in his career. However, as it came in the 2020 US Open, he qualifies until the year after Koepka. Finally, Australian Cameron Smith, who won this year’s historic 150th Open at St Andrews, secured his place until 2027.
Another way to qualify for the next year’s Masters is to appear in the field for the previous year’s Tour Championship. That was the final PGA Tour event Chilean Joaquin Niemann played before signing for LIV Golf, meaning he receives an invite on that basis.
Much has been made of the importance of the Official World Golf Ranking in LIV Golf players qualifying for the tournament. Sure enough, five players will receive their Masters invites based on being in the world’s top 50 at the end of 2022. Abraham Ancer finishes the year as World No.32, meaning he is unlikely to have had many sleepless nights on his eligibility.
Elsewhere, there may have been more uncertainty. Talor Gooch and Harold Varner III will finish the year as World No.40 and World No.45, respectively. Jason Kokrak was announced as one of three new LIV Golf signings in July. He also qualifies thanks to his year-end OWGR of World No.47. Two others have also snuck in via this route – Kevin Na, who will finish the year as World No.49 and Louis Oosthuizen, who secures the final place in the world’s top 50 to qualify.
The South African's ability to end the year in the world's top 50 had been in question in recent weeks. However, having recently dropped out of it for the first time since 2014 , he climbed back into it after finishing tied for seventh in the DP World Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Championship. That was enough to see the 2010 Open champion qualify for the first Major of 2023.
There is scope for other current LIV Golf players to add to the 16, but to do so, they will need to find a way into the world’s top 50 the week before the tournament. Given LIV Golf is currently unable to offer OWGR points, the chances of anyone doing so are precarious, to say the least.
Below is the full list of LIV Golf players eligible for next year’s Masters.
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LIV Golf Players Heading To The 2023 Masters
- Abraham Ancer
- Bryson DeChambeau
- Sergio Garcia
- Talor Gooch
- Dustin Johnson
- Jason Kokrak
- Brooks Koepka
- Phil Mickelson
- Kevin Na
- Joaquin Niemann
- Louis Oosthuizen
- Patrick Reed
- Charl Schwartzel
- Cameron Smith
- Harold Varner III
- Bubba Watson
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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