Augusta National has reached a fever pitch ahead of the 2022 Masters as anticipation has grown throughout the world for the year’s first major tournament. As we move closer to the start of Round 1 on Thursday it’s time to offer our annual “sure to go wrong early Thursday morning” 2022 Masters field rankings.
The normal train of thought here is that I will lament every ranking made below for the rest of the week. Especially this year as this edition of the field rankings was especially difficult given a clear-cut top three or four has not emerged.
The superstars playing the best golf have not actually won recently, which technically should not disqualify them from being in the top three or four but makes me a bit less confident in ranking them that high. Also, most of the field feels as if it should be ranked between No. 35-44. These are the golfers that theoretically have a chance to win but don’t enter Augusta National with momentum pointing to them actually doing so. These are the Mackenzie Hughes’ and Erik van Rooyens of the world.
Regardless, I did my best to sort them all out, both for my own organization heading into Masters week as well as your benefit as you try to put together your Masters picks, pools and fantasy teams. Let’s dive headfirst into the list of 90 from most likely to win the Masters to the least, and you can also take a look at a full slate of 2022 Masters odds provided by Caesars Sportsbook.
Plus, our CBS Sports experts convened to provide a complete set of Masters predictions and picks ahead of play beginning Thursday morning.
Watch all four rounds of the 2022 Masters starting Thursday with Masters Live as we follow the best golfers in the world throughout Augusta National with Featured Groups, check in at the famed Amen Corner and see leaders round the turn on holes 15 & 16. Watch live on CBSSports.com, the CBS Sports App and Paramount+.
2022 Masters field, ranked
1. Justin Thomas (4th in 2020): He has every shot. It was already presumed — you don’t win 14 times, including a major on accident — but he’s been showing it off so far this calendar year. Since the beginning of February, only Jon Rahm and Shane Lowry have been better ball-strikers, and J.T. has putted surprisingly well. Though he’s been disappointing overall during his major championship career, he’s at the perfect equilibrium between having experience, possessing one of the great tee-to-green games on the planet and not yet being jaded by failing too many times (like Ernie Els). To wit: The average Masters champion wins after 6.4 attempts. This is J.T.’s seventh appearance. One other stat that might interest you: Until last year, Thomas had improved his position on the leaderboard every single time he played Augusta National.
2. Jon Rahm (4th in 2018): It all seemed so straightforward coming into the year. Rahm, who has top 10s in each of his last four Masters starts, had been playing at a Tiger Woods-like clip, and he seemed unlikely to cede that level of play heading into the first major of the year. However, he’s now lost strokes putting in four consecutive stroke play events – which he insists is because he’s hitting approach shots too close – and there are some questions. Perhaps it’s better this way, without the load of expectations. Had Rahm won in Hawaii or at Torrey or Riviera, he would have come in as the heavy favorite and undisputed No. 1 storyline. Instead, he can sort of meld together with all the other top players (his No. 1 ranking was even usurped by Scottie Scheffler after the WGC-Dell Match Play) and attempt to put himself into true contention for the first time at Augusta National.
3. Brooks Koepka (T2 in 2019): Koepka’s meet and greet with the members of Augusta National following a win would be something else. “Sir, why is your hair that color, and here is a razor. See you at the dinner in 15 minutes. Nice 274, by the way.”
4. Collin Morikawa (T18 in 2021): Put him on the list of folks who got shook early in his career by feeling like he need to deviate from what he does best (which is hit flush-flush 2-yard fades on repeat for however long you want him to do so). It will likely come down to whether he’s having a hot putting week. Eight times he’s gained 3.6 strokes or more for an event with his putter, and all eight are top-five finishes (three of them are wins).
5. Cameron Smith (T2 in 2020): Smith has been off-the-charts good so far this year with wins at the Tournament of Champions and Players Championship. Normally, I would be concerned that he’s basically doing it with a neutral driver because Augusta is a place where that won’t necessarily work. However, Smith has three top 10s at the Masters, including the last two years. The only question for him is whether his hair situation would be more problematic for the Sunday evening festivities than Koepka’s.
6. Scottie Scheffler (T18 in 2021): It feels foolish to have the No. 1 player in the world this low, but Scheffler is not your normal No. 1 player in the world. His rise from No. 14 to No. 1 happened in the span of six weeks, which means his golf has been scorching but he might not have long-term staying power at that spot. Regardless, he’s been good at major championships. Each of his last six starts has been a top 20 and four of them have been inside the top eight. The match play event felt a bit like a culmination of his run, but perhaps the ride has one more apex.
7. Xander Schauffele (T2 in 2019): I want to believe that Schauffele has simply been on the wrong side of a major ledger that will even out over the course of his career, but only time will tell. Dumping his tee shot into the water on No. 16 last year as soon as he got within striking distance of Hideki Matsuyama was not encouraging, but it also seems statistically impossible to get into contention as much as he has (eight top-seven finishes in 18 majors) and not eventually win one.
8. Dustin Johnson (Won in 2020): Over his last 50 rounds following the WGC-Dell Match Play, D.J.’s strokes gained tee to green numbers were below Adam Hadwin, C.T. Pan and Martin Laird. He played well at Austin Country Club, but a lot of that was due to a putter that’s been smoking for a while now. D.J. is one of the handful of players in this field that can flip a switch week over week, but his trajectory has not been one that has indicated that a major win is coming (of course, neither was Hideki Matsuyama’s last year, and we saw how that went).
9. Rory McIlroy (4th in 2015): It remains strange that McIlroy’s closest call (from a leaderboard standpoint) remains Jordan Spieth’s greatest romp back in 2015. This year’s hype for his career slam is as quiet as I can remember, and it runs deeper than that. McIlroy is one of a handful of golfers who have been hitting the ball better than pretty much everybody else in the world, but he’s been a bit of an afterthought. That might not mean much, but it does have the feel of Tiger in 2019 when he was hitting it great but didn’t have the results. Conclusion: I’m fascinated.
10. Jordan Spieth (Won in 2015): In the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2021 Masters, Spieth beat or tied 447 of 453 competitors (98.7%). He somehow has one green jacket. I won’t bet against him at Augusta National until he’s hitting the ceremonial tee shot, but his recent record on the PGA Tour is neither encouraging nor anywhere close to where it was this time a year ago. However, he did offer this thimble of hope on Sunday in San Antonio.
11. Viktor Hovland (T21 in 2021): He would be in the top five if his short game was in order. However, after it jumped up a bit last season, it’s once again fallen off and is among the worst in this field coming into the week. Still, the ball-striking can’t be ignored (nearly 2.0 strokes gained per round this season!), and as he builds experience at Augusta National, he’ll start to accumulate knowledge on where he can miss and where it’s going to hurt him.
12. Will Zalatoris (2nd in 2021): Only Rahm and Zalatoris are clearing 2.0 strokes gained ball-striking in 2022. Rahm is at 2.4, Zalatoris is at 2.2. I was also recently informed that no golfer in history has earned more money per shot hit at Augusta National than Zalatoris, who earned $1.2 million last year on 279 strokes ($4,450 per shot).
13. Patrick Cantlay (T9 in 2019): Cantlay should be better at major championships (and The Players) than he has been. If we didn’t have his Wikipedia page to look at, he’d probably be in the top five on this list, but past history – especially at Augusta national – is meaningful, and Cantlay’s needs to improve. Until it does, I have to drop him lower than he should be.
14. Bryson DeChambeau (T21 in 2016): Incredibly, DeChambeau’s best showing at Augusta is still his debut as an amateur back in 2016. This time last year, I had him No. 3 on this list, and he may have remained there if not for his recent wrist and hip injuries. He did not look sharp in his first appearance back on the PGA Tour in two months at the WGC-Dell Match Play, and Augusta has always given him headaches (especially since he declared the golf course a par-67 because of how far he hits it). This time last year he was the biggest thing going in the game, but a combination of frustration with Alister MacKenzie’s crown jewel and a wrist problem that seemingly won’t go away leaves me wondering if he can even make the cut here.
15. Sam Burns (NA): I recently made the case for why Burns could break the 43-year winless drought for first-timers at Augusta National.
16. Shane Lowry (T21 in 2021): As was noted during The Players, Lowry’s two aces on Tour have come at perhaps two of the three most famous par 3s in the world (No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass and No. 16 at Augusta National). Lowry is playing at a better clip right now (1.5 strokes gained over his last 50 rounds) than he was going into the 2019 Open Championship, which he won (1.0 strokes gained per round).
17. Daniel Berger (T10 in 2016): Conventional wisdom says you have to hit the ball higher than Berger hits it to thrive at Augusta (Berger is currently last on the PGA Tour in terms of apex height off the tee). Regardless, he’s been playing quite well of late (top 20s at Honda and The Players). I don’t think he’s going to win, but you know he’s envisioned the tails of that green jacket flapping in the wind as he scoots his boat up and down the Florida coast.
18. Corey Conners (T8 in 2021): Conners is somewhat sneakily somebody who could actually win this event. He’s improved his position in all four of his Masters (from MC to T46 to T10 to T8), and the question for him is the same as it is everywhere: can he hole enough putts to make his ridiculous ball-striking matter on the scoreboard?
19. Joaquin Niemann (T40 in 2021): His ceiling is outrageous. Going 64-64 at Riviera to open this year’s Genesis Invitational proved that. He has so many gifts and moves the ball with tremendous athleticism. Last year was his first year to play all four majors, and he was one of only a handful who played the weekend in them all. The talent is there to win a major championship, and an improved short game in 2022 might be what unlocks contention at this one.
20. Adam Scott (Won in 2013): Scott has been a cut-making machine at Augusta National with his last missed weekend coming in 2009. Since then, it’s been seven top 20s including his famous win in 2013. His recent golf has been low-key really good, and as has been pointed out, his putting is no longer a liability. He’s a great 50-1 sleeper.
21. Tony Finau (T5 in 2019): Trends are diverging on Finau this year. He has a terrific record at Augusta National – as you might expect – with three top 10s in four starts, but he’s been lousy so far this season with no top 10s anywhere in 11 worldwide events. His biggest problem thus far has been his short game, and while that’s something that can flip in a single week, I’m not sure Augusta is the place for it to happen.
22. Marc Leishman (T4 in 2013): I imagine he’s been running Leishman National pretty fast on the stimpmeter for a few weeks now to help him prepare for this year’s event. Posted a quiet (nearly stealthy) T5 a year ago.
23. Louis Oosthuizen (2nd in 2012): No top 10s for Oosthuizen so far this season … which likely means he’s just saving them up for runner-up finishes at the majors. His only top 10 ever at Augusta National was, there’s no way you didn’t guess it, a second-place finish to Bubba Watson exactly 10 years ago.
24. Hideki Matsuyama (Won in 2021): It’s extraordinarily difficult to repeat at Augusta (only Nick Faldo, Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus have done it. And though Matsuyama is statistically playing better this time around than he was a year ago, there’s concern about a back that forced him out of The Players Championship and a neck that forced him out of last week’s Texas Open and that he’s trying to work into shape as the first round approaches.
25. Sungjae Im (T2 in 2020): Im has the talent to contend here (obviously, since he was runner-up to D.J. in 2020), but his recent performance has been lackluster. He has two top 10s this calendar year, but they both came in January. Still, he has a wider range of outcomes here than most, which is what you want when you’re playing fantasy teams or trying to find winners.
26. Paul Casey (T4 in 2016): Could Paul Casey win the Masters? Yes, of course, in theory, Paul Casey could win the Masters. Is Paul Casey going to win the Masters? I just don’t see that happening, and we have a lot of evidence that it’s not going to.
27. Billy Horschel (T17 in 2016): Horschel’s weekend escapades a year ago were memorable, but he eventually finished T50, which unfortunately for him continued a trend of mediocre play at Augusta National (he has just one finish inside the top 30). One problem he faces on this course is that his length off the tee is fairly average, and it’s hard to offset that at Augusta, even with the elite level of iron play he’s been operating at so far this season.
28. Si Woo Kim (T12 in 2021): I’m still cackling about Si Woo’s butchered handshake with Charl Schwartzel at Augusta a year ago. One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen at a golf tournament. No missed cuts this year, and he’s been sneaky good at this tournament with four straight top 35s. Depending on where you can get him, he should definitely be on your fantasy team.
29. Russell Henley (T11 in 2017): Henley hasn’t played this event in four years, but he’s a ball-striking king and he got his first taste of leading a major when he led or co-led for the first three rounds at Torrey Pines before Rahm went on to win the U.S. Open. Henley can absolutely contend to win this tournament.
30. Thomas Pieters (T4 in 2017): Pieters’ two starts at Augusta National are representative of who he is. The ceiling is towering (T4 behind Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose in 2017), but the floor is also quite low (73-78 to miss the cut in 2018). I actually like that he’s all or nothing, because if it’s the former, we’re going to be in for a show.
31. Justin Rose (2nd in 2017): Rose holds the distinction of the player who has held the most first, second or third round leads without winning a single Masters.
32. Sergio Garcia (Won in 2017): Garcia’s results since beating Justin Rose in a playoff five years ago have been completely abysmal. In three appearances here (he missed 2020 because of a positive COVID-19 test), Garcia has yet to make a single cut. He’s generationally good (and underrated), but it’s difficult to envision him winning this week given that he can’t counteract that poor recent Augusta showing with much form coming into the week.
33. Patrick Reed (Won in 2018): Two stats stand out. The first is that he finished T8 at last year’s Masters. I have no recollection of that. The second is that he doesn’t have a top-25 finish at a full-field event since the Butterfield Bermuda Championship last fall. I do wonder if the anonymous Twitter account closely associated with Team Reed will come after the good folks of Augusta National over Reed’s tee times like it does with the PGA Tour.
34. Tiger Woods (Won in 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019): This is normally one of the easier cuts to make of any tournament, and Tiger is smart enough to do so playing left-handed. However, I’m dubious of his chances of truly contending at an event when he hasn’t hit a tournament shot in 17 months. Tiger has admitted that it took him months and months to build up to that 2019 victory and that he’ll have to figure out a different way to do that now. He may in fact contend at another major in the future, but it’s not going to be this week at Augusta.
35. Matt Fitzpatrick (T7 in 2016): Fitzpatrick is the opposite of Finau. Not a great record at Augusta, but he’s been playing some of the best golf of anybody in the world. In fact, since January 1, Fitzpatrick is fourth in the world in total strokes gained behind only Joaquin Niemann, Justin Thomas and Cameron Smith. His record at majors is not good – one top 10 in 26 starts – which is why I don’t love him this week, but his recent form is also difficult to ignore.
36. Abraham Ancer (T13 in 2020): Ancer is difficult to figure out. He’s good from tee to green, but the way he does it is a bit backwards both for the modern game and at Augusta National. He’s more of a precision player off the tee who hits his irons well but doesn’t have an elite short game. Augusta is seemingly more of a place where you can (and should) bomb it and then score with deft touch around the greens. And yet … Ancer has had success here with two top 30s. I’m not sure what to make of that.
37. Tyrrell Hatton (T18 in 2021): Hatton is a good player who’s been playing great golf (seven top 25s in his last eight starts), but his major record and his play at Augusta National have both been dodgy over the years. Hatton seems more likely to jump into Rae’s Creek in protest of something than he does to win this year’s Masters.
38. Webb Simpson (T5 in 2019): Simpson has not had a great 2022 thus far, but he’s been incredibly consistent over the last few years at Augusta. After a missed cut in 2017, he has four straight top 20s and three straight top 12s.
39. Tommy Fleetwood (T17 in 2018): If Fleetwood wins a major championship, it seems so much more likely to be at the U.S. Open or Open Championship than at the Masters. He’s been playing some quality of golf of late, but even when he was at the peak of his powers, he never found immense success here.
40. Max Homa (MC in 2021): Homa has pretty quietly been playing some quality golf. He has top 20s in five of his last six stroke-play events, including Riviera, Bay Hill and Phoenix (all with great fields) and has been lights out from tee to green. He also might be the only pro in the field who would genuinely appreciate winning this even as much as the rest of us believe we would if we had the opportunity to play in it.
41. Gary Woodland (T24 in 2011): It’s great to see Woodland playing good golf again, but he’s – perhaps surprisingly – never found a ton of success at ANGC.
42. Robert MacIntyre (T12 in 2021): Underrated player who could break Scotland out of a seven-way tie for sixth in terms of which countries have the most green jackets. Only the United States (62), Spain (5), South Africa (5), England (4) and Germany (2) have more than one. Scotland is tied with Wales, Fiji, Canada, Argentina, Australia and Japan with one each.
43. Talor Gooch (first appearance): Gooch has been low-key great so far this season, and his greatest skill – iron play – also happens to be extremely important at this tournament. I worry about the major championship experience and the fact that he’s not mega-long off the tee, but he can absolutely make the cut and mix it up a little bit in his maiden voyage down Magnolia Lane.
44. Lee Westwood (2nd in 2010): Thankfully for Westwood, he can’t have his phone on the golf course so there won’t be any Twitter trouble to get into for most of the week.
45. Kevin Kisner (T21 in 2019): He’s been playing such tremendous golf, but this is not a course that necessarily sets up that well for him, and his history here (two straight missed cuts and no top-20 finishes) shows it. I’d love for him to get involved in his profession on the weekend because he’s a fun personality to have in the mix, but an Open Championship is probably a better bet for him at the majors.
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46. Bubba Watson (Won in 2012, 2014): This tournament marks the 10-year anniversary of his famous hooking shot out of the woods on the 10th hole. Watson has been good (only one missed cut since his second Masters win in 2014) but not great (only one top 10 since then as well). I’ll think of him as a threat here probably until he’s 55, but he’s not likely as much of one as his name and resume suggest.
47. Luke List (T33 in 2005): List has gone 17 years (!!) between Masters appearances, which is nearly a record. He’s among the best ball-strikers of the season so far, but he’ll have to have a blackout putting week (for him) to have a chance.
48. Harold Varner III (first appearance): I’m absolutely desperate for azalea-themed Jordan XIs.
49. Kevin Na (T12 in 2021): The true test of Na’s years-long bit is whether he’s willing to early-walk a 5-foot putt to win a green jacket. The ultimate commitment to a shtick.
50. Mackenzie Hughes (T40 in 2021): Hughes’ game isn’t built for Augusta National, but he could be in the running for low Canadian if Conners stumbles.
51. Cameron Young (first appearance): With four top 20s in five starts before The Players his ratio of strokes gained to folks who notice him at the grocery store has to be the highest of anyone in the world.
52. Tom Hoge (first appearance): You may not have heard of him (or you may have thought this was a new item on the famous Masters menu), but Hoge has been one of the best ball-strikers on the PGA Tour so far this season. He’s fallen off a bit since his win at Pebble Beach in February, but this course should illuminate what he does best.
53. Erik van Rooyen (WD in 2020): With the facial hair van Rooyen has been sporting so far in 2022, there will be members who think he’s cosplaying a proprietor of the original Bon Air Vanderbilt Hotel that folks used to stay at when Augusta National was originally built.
54. Sepp Straka (first appearance): Straka is playing some high-quality golf with a win at the Honda and a top 10 at The Players. Hope he reaches out to Augusta on their soda policy ahead of time.
55. Brian Harman (T12 in 2021): I was surprised to find out that Harman had only played three Masters in his career, and that this will be the first time he’s played in two consecutively. He’s been playing solid golf of late, and he gets the lefty advantage at Augusta. I’m in on him to finish in the top 25 or so.
56. J.J. Spaun (first appearance): Spaun got in with a win on Sunday in San Antonio, which is the single most “I cannot wait to change my vacation plans next week” moment a person can experience.
57. Jason Kokrak (49th in 2021): No top 20s since his Houston Open win last fall, and he’s likely been preoccupied by the LIV Golf operating agreement and nursing Phil Mickelson back to full capacity. The course should suit him, especially after he makes the turn and hits the second nine, but thus far he’s only managed a 49th-place finish and a missed cut.
58. Cameron Champ (T19 in 2020): Champ has played well at Augusta National, which is perhaps not that surprising given that you can hit it all over the yard but as long as you’re incredibly lengthy off the tee, it works. Perhaps it is surprising, though, when you consider the fact that Champ is not a very good iron player, which for me puts a cap on what he can accomplish this week.
59. Matthew Wolff (missed cut in 2020): He’s the hardest player in the field to rank. Obviously the talent is nearly limitless, but just as obviously, he seems like he’s looking for that unending oasis of giftedness. Could legitimately win. Could legitimately shoot 80-80.
60. Christiaan Bezuidenhout (T38 in 2020): Two made cuts in two starts here, but it’s not an event I can envision him winning. If you’re looking for a deeper play for a fantasy team, though, he’s a nice pick that should make the cut.
61. Seamus Power (first appearance): Power is trying to do something nobody in the history of golf has ever done, win a Masters in his first major championship appearance.
62. Francesco Molinari (T5 in 2019): Since Tiger swiped his soul in 2019, Molinari has broken par once and posted rounds of 78 and 81 in his last two appearances. He will likely go down alongside Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Henrik Stenson and others of his era as terrific golfers who only won one major championship.
63. Ryan Palmer (10th in 2011): Palmer has not been playing great golf (three missed cuts in four events before the Texas Open), and he’s the epitome of this midfield group of golfers who I don’t really think can win but could certainly make the cut and finish in the top 25.
64. Cameron Davis (first appearance): In theory, Davis has a perfect game for Augusta National. He’s a big-time driver who can navigate Augusta National. However, first-timers don’t win the Masters, and certainly not ones like Davis who don’t have a top 10 in the two months leading into the event.
65. Stewart Cink (T3 in 2008): Big Stew is playing his second straight Masters after missing five of the previous six! He finished T12 a year ago, and while his chances to win are not high, another top 12 this time around will get him a third consecutive Masters appearance in 2023, which would be a remarkable feat for somebody who turns 49 later this year.
66. Danny Willett (Won in 2016): He’s an Open Championship win away from matching Sandy Lyle’s insane “only four top 10s at majors but two of them were wins” record.
67. Charl Schwartzel (Won in 2011): Schwartzel has had a completely bizarre record at Augusta since winning maybe the wildest Masters of all time in 2011. He has no top 20s except for this random third-place finish behind Rose and Garcia in 2017. His game is not good right now, and he doesn’t have a made cut on the PGA Tour since last November.
68. Lucas Glover (T20 in 2007): Glover has just one top 10 this season and has never played Augusta very well. His path into the Masters – by winning the 2021 John Deere Classic – is a great story, but unfortunately that’s not going to be replicated at Augusta.
69. Lucas Herbert (first appearance): Low Lucas should be a good battle.
70. Hudson Swafford (missed cut in 2021): Has made just two cuts since winning The American Express in January. On the upside, Harris English is out so perhaps Swafford can con the folks handing out tickets to give him a few extra for family and friends.
71. Harry Higgs (first appearance): Can you imagine the reaction to Harry Higgs winning the Masters. If you thought Phil Mickelson was the people’s golfer, wait until you see what Higgs does on a media tour with the green jacket. That’s unfortunately not going to happen based on Higgs’ recent form – no top 10s since last October – but he’ll still be easy to root for regardless (though I’m guessing he doesn’t take his shirt off on this 16th hole).
72. Min Woo Lee (first appearance): The talent ceiling here is extremely high, which is important at major championships, but he brings little form coming in. He’s the author of one of my favorite tweets of all time in which he described an iron shot he hit as “flush-flush.”
73. Garrick Higgo (first appearance): Higgo might be the forgotten man among the young 20-somethings who have won on the PGA Tour, and there might be good reason for that. He took the Palmetto Championship last year just ahead of the U.S. Open, but hasn’t notched a top-20 finish since then.
74. Takumi Kanaya (T58 in 2019): Kanaya is coming off a good showing at the match play in Austin, but broadly speaking, he’s not a great iron player, which seems problematic in a week like this one. Can you imagine, though, the idea of Hideki Matsuyama potentially slipping the green jacket on one of his countrymen on Sunday evening. That would be pretty incredible.
75. K.H. Lee (first appearance): Lee once said his goal was to be the No. 1 golfer in the world and also the No. 1 sexiest golfer in the world. A Masters win could feasibly help him with both goals.
76. Bernhard Langer (Won in 1985, 1993): Langer already holds the record for the oldest golfer to make the cut at the Masters (which he set at age 63 in 2020) and might reset it again this year at age 64 and a half. It must be jarring for men less than half his age to be flying home on Friday evening while this star from an era before they were born continues to rack up weekend tee times at Augusta National (he’s made three of the last four cuts).
77. Guido Migliozzi (first appearance): After grinning his way to a T4 at the U.S. Open at Torrey last year, he’s made just one cut in 2022, and it was a T67 at the Ras al Khaimah Championship. He’s somehow lost strokes in every statistical category in every tournament except for the three events in which he narrowly gained strokes off the tee. His first trip to Augusta does not seem like it will be as joyful as his first trip to Torrey for a U.S. Open.
78. Zach Johnson (Won in 2007): Not accidentally hitting a tee ball with his practice swing and ending up on a highlight reel would be a win for the 2023 Ryder Cup captain.
79. Padraig Harrington (T5 in 2008): Wait, as in European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington? That’s right. While you were focused on one 50-something golfer winning the PGA Championship a year ago, a different one was playing his way to a T4 and into the 2022 Masters, where he hasn’t been a participant since 2015 and hasn’t made a cut since 2012. Never mind that Harrington has almost no chance of winning, this is another celebration of a game that includes such a wide variety (and age) of players.
80. Stewart Hagestad (T36 in 2017): This will be amateur Hagestad’s fifth major (three U.S. Opens and two Masters), which is the same number of majors the No. 11 player in the world, Sam Burns, has currently played.
81. Keita Nakajima (first appearance): Nakajima’s win at the Asia-Pacific Amateur was sandwiched on both sides by three made cuts at pro events, including a win at the Panasonic Open on the Japan Tour and a T41 at the Sony Open in Hawaii back in January. The No. 1-ranked amateur in the world watched in awe as his countryman (and last year’s Masters champion), Hideki Matsuyama, won the Sony Open with the shot of the year. Also, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa spoke highly of Nakajima’s game.
“Striped the ball, that’s one of the biggest things I saw,” said Morikawa. “Everything sounded amazing. He was hitting it really straight. You don’t get to be the No. 1 player in the world for the amateur rankings unless you’re playing pretty well and you’re a good player, but I could see why.”
82. Fred Couples (Won in 1992): With past champs who have had modern-day success, we often overstate how good they’ve been in recent years. The truth with Couples is that he hasn’t made the cut since 2018 and hasn’t finished in the top 10 since Phil Mickelson won the tournament back in 2010. Couples will be, as he always is, a good north star for the sport in his interviews throughout the week, but his competitive days at Augusta National are all but over.
83. Jose Maria Olazabal (Won in 1994, 1999): A 56-year-old Olazabal making the cut last year for the first time anywhere in the world since the Trophee Hassan II in 2015 and the first time at the Masters since 2014 when Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Patrick Cantlay missed it was a very “normal sport” moment.
84. Austin Greaser (first appearance): The runner-up at last year’s U.S. Amateur has had a nice collegiate season, but the jump from nice collegiate season to first tee at Augusta National is several Grand Canyons wide.
85. James Piot (first appearance): Piot is last year’s U.S. Amateur champ, and he said recently that he got some of his nerves out of the way at this year’s Arnold Palmer Invitational and that he’s used up his allotment of practice rounds (I believe not doing so is considered a felony in most states). Unfortunately for him, the nerves he felt over two rounds at Bay Hill won’t even register on the scale he’ll feel them at Augusta National.
86. Vijay Singh (Won in 2000): Vijay is a legend, but every time I think of him and the Masters now, I’m going to think of him cackling at Bryson while Bryson tried to smack golf balls off the press building at the back of the practice area.
87. Mike Weir (Won in 2003): Weir has made two of his last three cuts in OWGR events. The unfortunate part is that spans 17 months, with one of them coming at the 2020 Masters.
88. Laird Shepherd (first appearance): Shepherd is perhaps the most improbable invitee in the entire field. The 24-year-old was seven down halfway through a 36-hole match to win the British Amateur last year and won the last four holes to extend the match. He missed the cut at The Open at Royal St. George’s and hasn’t done much on the amateur circuit since then, and this week will likely be the apex of his golfing life (it’s a pretty good apex).
89. Aaron Jarvis (first appearance): If you haven’t read about how the 1,669th-ranked amateur golfer in the world from a country that has 27 total golf holes made his way to the Masters, you should.
90. Sandy Lyle (Won in 1988): Last time Lyle made a cut, Rory McIlroy had just two majors on his resume. Lyle also accomplished one of my favorite stats in golf. He has just four major top 10s in 99 starts, and two of them are wins.
91. Larry Mize (Won in 1987): Since 2014, Mize has made the same number of cuts as 2017 champion Sergio Garcia.