How to qualify for the Masters, the world’s most prestigious golf tournament

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The Masters is the most prestigious golf tournament in the world, and most golfers yearn for an invitation, and with 87 golfers, this year’s field will be the smallest in 21 years.

As it turns out, there are 19 different ways in which a golfer can come to receive an invitation. Many players qualify under multiple criteria, including Jordan Spieth, who qualifies under seven of the categories.

The qualifications are also always changing. For example, the USGA no longer holds the US public links championship where the winner used to receive an invite to the Masters. On the flip side, the Latin American amateur champ is a recent addition, and the reigning Olympic gold medalist is now an automatic qualifier in the year after the Olympics.

Below we take a look at the 19 different ways a golfer can qualify for the Masters and which of this year’s 87 golfers qualified under each. We have listed the golfers only under their first qualification.


1. Winners of a previous Masters receive a lifetime invitation. There are 20 players in this year’s tournament who have already won at least one green jacket, including last year’s champ, Sergio Garcia.

Angel Cabrera Fred Couples Sergio Garcia (17, 18) Trevor Immelman Zach Johnson (3, 18) Bernhard Langer Sandy Lyle Phil Mickelson (3, 16, 18) Larry Mize Mark O’Meara Jose Maria Olazabal Charl Schwartzel (12, 18) Adam Scott (12, 18) Vijay Singh Jordan Spieth (2, 3, 12, 16, 17, 18) Bubba Watson (16) Mike Weir Danny Willett Tiger Woods Ian Woosnam

If a player qualifies under more than one category, they are only listed in the first category with additional categories in parentheses.


Because of the qualifications, the Masters’ field does not have a set size. This is important because it means older players with lifetime invitations are not taking spots from somebody who may have a better chance to compete.

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Bernhard Langer automatically qualifies each year as a Masters champion, but he is not taking a spot from another player.
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Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Notable past champions who are still eligible to play but are not in the field include Ben Crenshaw, Fuzzy Zoeller, Nick Faldo, Craig Stadler, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Tom Watson, and Raymond Floyd.

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Nick Faldo is eligible to play but will not.
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2. Golfers receive an invitation if they have won the US Open in the last five years. Jordan Spieth would also qualify here, but he is already in as a past Masters champ. Brooks Koepka would also qualify here, but he will miss the tournament with a wrist injury.

Justin Rose (12, 16, 17, 18) Martin Kaymer Dustin Johnson (16, 17, 18)


3. Likewise, golfers receive an invitation for having won the Open Championship in the last five years. Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, and Zach Johnson would also qualify here but are already in as past Masters champs.

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Rory McIlroy
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Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy (4, 12, 14, 16, 18) Henrik Stenson (16, 18)


4. Winners of the PGA Championship in the last five years also receive an invitation. Rory McIlroy won the 2014 PGA Championship, but is already in as a winner of the Open Championship in 2014.

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Jason Day
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Rob Carr/Getty Images

Jason Day (16, 17, 18) Justin Thomas (16, 17, 18) Jimmy Walker Jason Dufner (16, 17, 18)


5. Winners of The Players Championship in the previous three years are qualified for the Masters. Jason Day would also qualify here.

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Rickie Fowler
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Rickie Fowler (12, 17, 18) Si-Woo Kim (18)


6. The reigning Olympic Gold Medalist was a new qualification in 2017, but only earns a Masters invite in the year immediately after the Olympics. So nobody is in under this criteria this year.

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Justin Rose qualified as Olympic champ in 2017.
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Scott Halleran/Getty Images

none


7. The current US Amateur champion and the runner-up automatically qualify

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Doc Redman is in as the US Amateur champ.
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Harry How/Getty Images

Doc Redman Doug Ghim


8. The current British Amateur champion also receives an invitation

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Harry Ellis
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Harry Ellis


9. As does the current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion. Lin Yuxin of China is this year’s champ.

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Lin Yuxin
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Lin Yuxin


10. The current Latin America Amateur champion is now an automatic qualification.

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Joaquin Niemann
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Joaquin Niemann


11. The current US Mid-Amateur champion gets to play in the Masters.

Matt Parziale


12. Players who finished in the Top 12 (including ties) in last year’s Masters Tournament get to come back if not already qualified. This year, 7 golfers qualify here. However, all 6 of the 7 would have also qualified under one of the remaining criteria.

Paul Casey (16, 17, 18) Kevin Chappell (16, 17, 18) Russell Henley (17, 18) Matt Kuchar (14, 17, 18) Hideki Matsuyama (13, 16, 17, 18) Ryan Moore Thomas Pieters (18)


13. Players who finished in the Top 4 (including ties) in the previous year’s U.S. Open also automatically qualify.

Brian Harman (16, 17, 18) Tommy Fleetwood (18)


14. Players who finished in the top 4 (including ties) in the previous year’s Open Championship get to play in the Masters. Haotong Li finished six shots behind Jordan Spieth, but that was good enough for third place. Otherwise, he would not be in the Masters.

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Haotong Li
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Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Rafa Cabrera-Bello (18) Haotong Li


15. Also, players who finished in the top 4 of the previous year’s PGA Championship get invites. All three of these players would have been in under other criteria.

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Patrick Reed
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Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Francesco Molinari (18) Patrick Reed (18) Louis Oosthuizen (18)


16. Another 18 golfers are in because they won a qualified PGA Tour event in the 12 months since the last Masters. This includes Ian Poulter who qualified with a win at the Houston Open just four days before the start of the Masters.

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Ian Poulter
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Josh Hedges/Getty Images

Daniel Berger (17, 18) Wesley Bryan Patrick Cantlay (17, 18) Austin Cook Billy Horschel Kevin Kisner (17, 18) Patton Kizzire Marc Leishman (17, 18) Pat Perez (17, 18) Ted Potter, Jr. Jon Rahm (17, 18) Xander Schauffele (17, 18) Kyle Stanley (17, 18) Brendan Steele (18) Jhonattan Vegas (17, 18) Gary Woodland (18) Bryson DeChambeau Ian Poulter


17. A couple of big names qualified by being in last year’s season-ending Tour Championship.

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Charley Hoffman
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Tony Finau (18) Adam Hadwin Charley Hoffman (18) Webb Simpson (18)


18. Being among the top 50 players in the final World Golf Ranking last year is another qualification

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Branden Grace
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Kiradech Aphibarnrat Ross Fisher Matthew Fitzpatrick Branden Grace Tyrrell Hatton Yuta Ikeda Yusaku Miyazato Alex Noren Bernd Wiesberger


19. The final qualification goes to golfers who were not among the top 50 in the World Golf Ranking at the end of the 2016 season, but are in the top 50 in the most recent ranking. These four golfers got into the top 50 recently and are now in the Masters.

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Satoshi Kodaira
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Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Satoshi Kodaira Chez Reavie Dylan Frittelli Cameron Smith


Finally, the Masters Committee can also extend invitations to international players who are not otherwise qualified. This year, one player received such an invite, Shubhankar Sharma, just the fourth Indian player to compete in the Masters.

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Shubhankar Sharma
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Shubhankar Sharma


More Masters coverage:

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