Maybe Next Year
November 06, 2020

Masters 2020: You'll be surprised how many top-50 players didn't earn Augusta National invites this year

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Ezra Shaw

There's no shortage of content revolving around those golfers who are in the field at the 2020 Masters, but it's also worth taking a quick peek at a list of players who won't be teeing it up at Augusta National next week—because it will probably surprise you.

The Masters has always had the smallest field of the four men's majors since its inception as the Augusta National Invitation Tournament in 1934. But even with the number of participants significantly increasing from last year to this year, there are some pretty significant names not included.

Of course, this is an unusual year with the tournament being pushed back to November. And in April, Augusta National decided to finalize its field of 96 players. That set up the possibility of players winning a PGA Tour event in the meantime and having to wait until 2021 to reap the reward of a Masters invite.

It didn't take long for that to happen as Daniel Berger won the PGA Tour's re-start at Colonial. And he didn't stop there, adding three other top-three finishes on the way to the best season of his young career.

As Berger climbed to a career-best in the Official World Golf Ranking of No. 13—a position he currently holds—there was thought he might get a late invite to the Masters. Unfortunately for him, it never came.

But Berger isn't alone. In fact, he's one of five top-50 players currently who will be watching this strange year's final major from home. The others who didn't qualify? Viktor Hovland (No. 24), Ryan Palmer (No. 33), Harris English (No. 35), and Kevin Streelman (No. 49). Those in the top 50 at the end of the previous year or the week before the Masters receive invites.

One other top-50 player, No. 41 Joaquin Niemann, announced on Friday he is withdrawing from the tournament due to a positive test for COVID-19.

Hovland, who finished T-32 at the 2019 Masters to earn low amateur honors, is arguably as deserving of a spot as Berger. He won a PGA Tour event in February before the field was finalized, but didn't receive an invite because it came at an opposite-field event, the Puerto Rico Open. And few golfers have played as well consistently as English since the June re-start.

On the bright side, all but Streelman have already locked up spots in the 2021 Masters. And with the tournament moving back to its regular April date, it's just five months away.