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11 tour pros wait—anxiously—for confirmation that they’re in the 2024 Masters

December 21, 2023
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Will Zalatoris practices ahead of the 2023 Masters but had to withdraw before the opening round with a back injury that ultimately led to surgery. He is among 11 pros who are expected to qualify for the 2024 Masters based on finishing in the top 50 in the final Official World Golf Ranking of 2023.

Patrick Smith

Nothing is official, of course, until it’s official. But there are nearly a dozen more tour pros who are probably safe to make travel plans for the first full week of April.

The Masters traditionally invites anyone who finishes in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking at year’s end into its field the next April. That final ranking for 2023 doesn’t come out for a few more days, but there’s only one more tournament in 2023 that offers World Ranking points (the Tata Steel Tour Championship on the Professional Golf Tour of India). With no player competing in that event who could influence the top end of the ranking, based off a projection from OWGR guru Nosferatu posted on X (formerly Twitter), it appears 11 golfers who will be in that top 50 hadn’t already qualified to play at Augusta National in 2024, and, thus, will soon (officially) be Georgia bound.

They are: Ryan Fox (projected to be 28th), Min Woo Lee (33), Denny McCarthy (34), Justin Rose (36), Will Zalatoris (38), Harris English (40), Eric Cole (41), J.T. Poston (43), Adrian Meronk (48), Adam Hadwin (49) and Nicolai Hjogaard (50).

McCarthy, Cole and Hjogaard will be playing in the Masters for the first time. Zalatoris, meanwhile, is excited to get back to the tournament after withdrawing from the 2023 event just before Thursday’s opening round because of a back injury that caused him to have season-ending surgery just two days later.

“[It’s] kind of a golfer's worst nightmare is feeling your back giving out on the driving range at Augusta 30 minutes before your tee time,” Zalatoris said. Thinking back to April, he noted: “It's a big swing of emotions. I think the first five, six weeks was probably the hardest.”

Nick Taylor is projected to be ranked 51st, just outside the cutoff for Masters invites. However, Taylor already was in the field at Augusta National thanks to his win at the RBC Canadian Open in June. On the outside looking in off the World Ranking are Chris Kirk (52) and Matt Kuchar (54).

The addition of the 11 off the World Ranking brings the number of players who have already qualified to 93, including past champions who are not expected to compete in the tournament. According to the Associated Press, just 77 of the invitees are expected to compete. Depending on how many more players qualify between now and April, the field could be one of the smallest in recent memory. In the last 10 years, the fewest number of competitors was 87 (2018 and 2019).

At least one other amateur is eligible to qualify—the winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship in January is given an invitation. Additionally, winners of any remaining PGA Tour events that offer full FedEx Cup points (there are 14 before tournament week) as well as any player ranked in the OWGR top 50 as of April 7 also earn invitations. The club also can award special invitations to players.

UPDATE, 5:58 p.m.: It looks like the Masters feels pretty sure at least some of the players who will be in the top 50 at year’s end. Rookie Eric Cole's invitation appears to have already been sent out, with his mother, former LPGA pro Laura Baugh posting this on X.