The Masters: how to qualify

How to qualify for the Masters, golf's most exclusive major championship

The Masters, Augusta
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nick Bonfield asks how to qualify for the Masters. With such a small field each year, just making it down Magnolia Lane is a huge achievement

The Masters is golf's most exclusive major championship, and possesses the smallest field of any of golf's big four events.

Only three times at the Masters has the field been in excess of 100 players, with the largest coming in 1962. On that occasion, 109 players took part.

The small field means that many highly acomplished golfers throughout the ages have never actually made it through the front gates and down Magnolia Lane. Of course, this only adds to the sense of occasion.

So, how do you earn a place at the Masters? If you fulfil the following criteria, you will be invited:

- Former winners of The Masters

- Winners of the last five U.S. Opens

- Winners of the last five British Opens

- Winners of the last five PGA Championships

- Winners of the last three Players Championships

- Winner and runner-up from the last U.S. Amateur Championship

- Winner of the last British Amateur Championship

- Winner of the last Asian Amateur Championship

- Winner of the last U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship

- Winner of the last U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship

- The top 16 finishers (including ties) from last year's Masters tournament

- The top 8 finishers (including ties), from the 2012 U.S. Open

- The top 4 finishers (including ties) from the 2012 Open

- The top four finishers (including ties) from the 2012 PGA Championship

- The top 30 finishers on the PGA Tour money list

- Winners of PGA Tour events from the 2012 Masters to this year's Masters

- All players who qualified for the 2012 Tour Championship

- The Top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking at the end of 2013

- The Top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking published in the week prior to the 2013 Masters

As you can see, the qualification criteria is tight and the only way to ensure an invitation is to win it!

Those lucky enough to meet the above criteria receive an invitation in the post from the Matsers committee. This is yet another Masters tradition that makes this a special event for those lucky enough to be able to compete.

Nick Bonfield
Nick Bonfield

Nick Bonfield joined Golf Monthly in 2012 after graduating from Exeter University and earning an NCTJ-accredited journalism diploma from News Associates in Wimbledon. He is responsible for managing production of the magazine, sub-editing, commissioning and feature writing. Most of his online work is opinion-based and typically centres around the Majors and significant events in the global golfing calendar. Nick has been an avid golf fan since the age of ten and became obsessed with the professional game after watching Mike Weir and Shaun Micheel with The Masters and USPGA respectively in 2003. In his time with Golf Monthly, he's interviewed the likes of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jose Maria Olazabal, Henrik Stenson, Padraig Harrington, Lee Westwood and Billy Horschel and has ghost-written columns for Westwood, Wayne Riley, Matthew Southgate, Chris Wood and Eddie Pepperell. Nick is a 12-handicap golfer and his favourite courses include Old Head, Sunningdale New, Penha Longha, Valderrama and Bearwood Lakes. If you have a feature pitch for Nick, please email nick.bonfield@futurenet.com with 'Pitch' in the subject line. Nick is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade M1 Fairway wood: TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Hybrid: Ping Crossover Irons (4-9): Nike Vapor Speed Wedges: Cleveland CBX Full Face, 56˚, Titleist Vokey SM4, 60˚ Putter: testing in progress! Ball: TaylorMade TP5x