Augusta National locks in field for Masters with four additions

A day after announcing an intended November date for the Masters, Augusta National officials locked the field for the proposed 2020 tournament, adding four players off the most recent Official World Golf Ranking.

An Augusta National spokesman confirmed that the field had been updated, with 96 players qualifying for the event that has been rescheduled for Nov. 12-15.

Before play was halted last month because of the coronavirus pandemic, there were just two more ways to qualify for the Masters for those not otherwise invited: win the Players Championship, Valspar Championship, WGC-Dell Match Play or Valero Texas Open; or be among the top 50 in the world as of the Monday after the Match Play.

The Masters has elected to go with the latest world ranking for the top 50, and there were four players who were not otherwise exempt.

No. 44 Collin Morikawa and No. 45 Scottie Scheffler and No. 47 Christiaan Bezuidenhout will all make their Masters debuts. Graeme McDowell, who won the 2010 U.S. Open, will make the field for the first time since 2016.

McDowell benefited from the added week of world rankings, even though no events were played. He had been 51st in the world at the start of the Players Championship, which was canceled. A week later, thanks to his divisor changing slightly in the world rankings formula, he moved up to 49th.

When the PGA Tour resumes, any player who wins an event will qualify for the 2021 Masters instead of the November event. There will not be another top-50 cutoff before the 2020 Masters. Also, the six amateurs in the field need to remain amateur in order to compete in the tournament.

A field size of 96 players pushes the limits of what the Masters typically wants even when the tournament is played in April. Last year, the field topped out at 87 players. With less daylight in November, there is a possibility the tournament will consider a two-tee start for the first two rounds.