With 77 eligible players, Masters field likely to be small

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Masters already has the smallest field of the majors. The 2024 edition could be one of the smallest in years depending on the first three months of the PGA Tour season.

With no significant tournaments the rest of the year, it looks as though 11 players who finish in the top 50 will be added to the field, which would bring the field to 77 players among those expected to compete.

That includes three players who will be making their Masters debuts without ever having won on the PGA Tour or European tour: Adam Schenk, Eric Cole and Denny McCarthy. Schenk qualified by reaching the Tour Championship for the first time.

The 11 expected to get in through top 50 in the world ranking are Ryan Fox, Min Woo Lee, McCarthy, Will Zalatoris, Justin Rose, Harris English, Cole, J.T. Poston, Adrian Meronk, Adam Hadwin and Nicolai Hojgaard.

Four players — Luke List, Erik van Rooyen, Camilo Villegas and Ludvig Åberg — earned invitations by winning PGA Tour events in the fall.

One additional player will be the winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship in January. Otherwise, the pass down Magnolia Lane in April comes from winning a full PGA Tour event — there are 14 of them before the Masters — or being in the top 50 on April 7, the week before the Masters.

There also could be a special invitation for international players who are not PGA Tour regulars.

Augusta National prefers the field to be under 100, a number it last exceeded in 1966 when 103 players were in the field.

Among those narrowly missing out are Chris Kirk (No. 52) and Matt Kuchar (No. 54), the latter who is used to being on the bubble.

“I think I was really close last year, as well,” Kuchar said.

His hopes ended when he lost in the fourth round of the Match Play championship. The previous year, he was runner-up in the Texas Open when only a win would have gotten him back to Augusta.

Kuchar at least helped himself in the fall by becoming eligible for a pair of $20 million signature events at Pebble Beach and Riviera. He knows what he has to do. He’s just not overly consumed by it.

“I’ve never been one to think, ‘I need to play well this week because I’m 53rd in the world.’ If you didn’t tell me where I was in the world ranking, I could not have told you,” Kuchar said. “I’ve always thought your best chance to play good golf is to just go out and do it, and not because you have to do it.”

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