The Masters

South African legend Gary Player was the first non-American to win the Masters when he took the title in 1961, and his victory heralded the internationalisation of an event which had become a formidable challenge in world golf.

But the first major of the year has always had a mystique about it that attracted golfers from all over the world.

Not that it is easy for anyone to get in – unlike the Open, perhaps, which is precisely that: open.

The Masters is an invitational event, with entry controlled by Augusta National Golf Club, and, such are the entry criteria, that the field hovers at around 90-100 players each year.

Here are the criteria:
1. Masters Tournament champions (Lifetime invitation)
2. US Open champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
3. The Open champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
4. PGA champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
5. Winners of the Players Championship (Three years)
6. Current US Amateur champion (6-A) (Honorary, non-competing after one year); runner-up (6-B) to the current US Amateur champion
7. Current British Amateur champion (Honorary, non-competing after one year)
8. Current Asian Amateur champion
9. Current US Amateur Public Links champion
10. Current US Mid-Amateur champion
11. The first 16 players, including ties, in the previous year’s Masters Tournament
12. The first 8 players, including ties, in the previous year’s US Open
13. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s Open Championship
14. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s PGA Championship
15. The 30 leaders on the Final Official PGA Tour Money List for the previous calendar year
16. Winners of PGA Tour Regular Season and Playoff events that award at least a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship, from previous Masters to current Masters
17. Those qualifying for the previous year’s season-ending Tour Championship
18. The 50 leaders on the final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year
19. The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published during the week prior to the current Masters Tournament

Some players obviously qualify in multiple categories, and there are some discretional invitations available to the Masters Committee which are generally given to foreign players.

Competitors play in groups of three for the first 36 holes on the first two days. After 36 holes have been played by all players, players are eliminated to reduce the field. To make the cut, players must be either within 44 places of the lead (ties counting) or within 10 strokes of the leader’s score. These rules have applied since the 1961 tournament; from 1957 to 1960 the best 40 scores and ties and those within 10 strokes of the leader made the cut. Before 1957, there was no 36-hole cut.

Masters champions
2010 – Phil Mickelson
2009 – Angel Cabrera
2008 – Trevor Immelman
2007 – Zach Johnson
2006 – Phil Mickelson
2005 – Tiger Woods
2004 – Phil Mickelson
2003 – Mike Weir
2002 – Tiger Woods
2001 – Tiger Woods
2000 – Vijay Singh
1999 – Jose Maria Olazabal
1998 – Mark O’Meara
1997 – Tiger Woods
1996 – Nick Faldo
1995 – Ben Crenshaw
1994 – Jose Maria Olazabal
1993 – Bernhard Langer
1992 – Fred Couples
1991 – Ian Woosnam
1990 – Nick Faldo
1989 – Nick Faldo
1988 – Sandy Lyle
1987 – Larry Mize
1986 – Jack Nicklaus
1985 – Bernhard Langer
1984 – Ben Crenshaw
1983 – Seve Ballesteros
1982 – Craig Stadler
1981 – Tom Watson
1980 – Seve Ballesteros
1979 – Fuzzy Zoeller
1978 – Gary Player
1977 – Tom Watson
1976 – Raymond Floyd
1975 – Jack Nicklaus
1974 – Gary Player
1973 – Tommy Aaron
1972 – Jack Nicklaus
1971 – Charles Coody
1970 – Billy Casper
1969 – George Archer
1968 – Bob Goalby
1967 – Gay Brewer
1966 – Jack Nicklaus
1965 – Jack Nicklaus
1964 – Arnold Palmer
1963 – Jack Nicklaus
1962 – Arnold Palmer
1961 – Gary Player
1960 – Arnold Palmer
1959 – Art Wall
1958 – Arnold Palmer
1957 – Doug Ford
1956 – Jack Burke Jr
1955 – Cary Middlecoff
1954 – Sam Snead
1953 – Ben Hogan
1952 – Sam Snead
1951 – Ben Hogan
1950 – Jimmy Demaret
1949 – Sam Snead
1948 – Claude Harmon
1947 – Jimmy Demaret
1946 – Herman Keiser
1942 – Byron Nelson
1941 – Craig Wood
1940 – Jimmy Demaret
1939 – Ralph Guldahl
1938 – Henry Picard
1937 – Byron Nelson
1936 – Horton Smith
1935 – Gene Sarazen
1934 – Horton Smith

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