The Masters Tournament: How Does a Player Qualify to Compete at Augusta National?

Published 04/09/2021, 3:32 PM EDT
AUGUSTA, GA – APRIL 07: A flag with the Augusta National logo is seen during the Par 3 Contest prior to the 2010 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 7, 2010 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)


The 2021 Masters has currently got everyone hooked to their seats. The most celebrated golf tournament is currently running from April 8-11 at the Augusta National. Moreover, there’s always a major question that people always search about. How do players qualify to play in the Masters, or what is the eligibility to receive an invite to the prestigious tournament? 

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A lot of hardcore fans will already be familiar with this query. The Masters tournament operates based on invites and not everyone gets to be a part of the field at the Augusta National every year. Hence, every golfer would consider it an honor to play at the prestigious event. 

As for the 2021 edition, the field is filled with a variety of golfers with different distinctions. However, all of them fit the vast criteria that are required to fetch an invite from the Augusta National Golf club. Without further adieu, let us see how a player can get invited to represent the field at a Masters tournament. (Source: Masters.com

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How a player can qualify for the Masters tournament 

The eligibility is not confined to one factor. In fact, there are plenty of ways through which a golfer can qualify to play at a Masters tournament. To be precise, there are 19 different ways, and we’ve categorized them into different sections to help you get a better understanding. 

Before we get into the details, there is a major point to be made. A player who wins a Masters tournament receives life-time exemption to participate in the prestigious event. So, 2020 champion Dustin Johnson now has the privilege of playing at Augusta till whenever he sees fit. 

All Major championship winners also get a limited exemption period

Winning a Major tournament definitely comes with its perks. Besides the lucrative prize money, FedEXCup points, and official ranking points, a Major tournament winner also gets a limited five-year invite to the Masters.

Right now, U.S. Open, British Open champions, PGA champions from 2016-2020 are all the players that received a direct invite to participate in the 2021 Masters. They’ve been holding this perk for the last five years. 

Golf – The Masters – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, U.S. – April 9, 2021 Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the second round REUTERS/Mike Segar

Though it is not a Major, the winner of the Players Championship also gets a three-year automatic qualification to play at the Masters. 

As for the global stage, the current Olympic gold medalist in golf receives a one-year invite to the Masters at Augusta National. 

Amateur champions are also eligible to play the Masters tournament

The Augusta National Golf Club also invites amateur champions from different tournaments to take part in the Masters. Here are a list of amateur champions who will be playing at Augusta in 2021:

  • 2020 US Amateur Champion (7-A) (Honorary, non-competing after one year) and the runner-up (7-B) to the 2020 US Amateur Champion
  • 2020 British Amateur Champion (Honorary, non-competing after one year)
  • 2020 Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion
  • 2021 Latin America Amateur Champion
  • 2020 US Mid-Amateur Champion

Players with top finishes in the previous edition of the Major tournaments 

This category is also quite effective as a good finish at a Major will also earn the player a ticket to the next Masters tournament. For instance, here’s a list of players who have earned an invite to the 2021 Masters based on this criteria: 

  • The first 12 players, including ties, in the 2020 Masters Tournament
  • The first 4 players, including ties, in the 2020 US Open Championship
  • The first 4 players, including ties, in the 2020 British Open Championship
  • The first 4 players, including ties, in the 2020 PGA Championship

Official World Golf Rankings and PGA Tour winners

This is the final section of the qualification list. There are so many ways through which a golfer can earn an invite to the Masters. In that regard, the 50 leading players in the Official World Golf Ranking a week prior to the Masters tournament will receive an invite to participate. 

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Besides this, the top 50 players in the OWGR from the previous calendar year are also eligible. Furthermore, every winner of a PGA Tour event that awards a full-point allocation for the Tour Championship that takes place in between the annual Masters tournament will also qualify. 

Golf – The Masters – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, U.S. – April 9, 2021 Australia’s Cameron Smith walks to the 13th green during the second round REUTERS/Mike Segar

Finally, the players qualifying from the previous year’s Tour Championship also have eligibility to enter the field at the Masters.  

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Arjun Athreya

2036 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.

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