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Who Isn't Playing in The 2024 Masters

By: | Mon 18 Mar 2024

It's been a long winter for golfers, but the Masters is that tantalising light at the end of the tunnel. Soon our television screens will be illuminated by the iconic setting of Augusta National as the first major of the year unfolds before our eyes.

Keen viewers will be more than aware that the tournament boasts a significantly smaller field than any of golf's other most storied events, meaning that a place at the Masters itself stands as a career achievement for many players. 

While it officially retains an invitational status, there are distinct categories for qualification, meaning that invites are dispatched to former winners, recent major champions, leading amateurs, players who have recently won on the PGA Tour, and those who reside high in the world rankings.

This ensures that the overwhelming majority of the biggest names are set to gather in Georgia, but with fewer than 100 players competing, there are some notable golfers who won't be participating in April.

Former Champions

Winning the Masters comes with an array of benefits. You not only receive the sizeable prize fund and the status of being a major champion, but you also get to return to the club each year and wander around in your green jacket. But one particular bonus is that you receive a lifetime invitation to compete in the tournament. 

Now, since the days of Doug Ford and Billy Casper teeing up well into their 70s, past champions are discouraged from playing into their golden years, but this is an event where previous winners have a place more than most.

However, there will be fewer of them participating this year. 12 months ago, Sandy Lyle and Larry Mize, the champions of 1988 and 1987, made their farewell appearances, while such a valedictory walk had been planned for twice victor Bernhard Langer, but the 66-year-old German recently tore his Achilles tendon while playing pickleball (Google it).

2009 champion Angel Cabrera has been absent from the Masters since 2019, but the Argentine was hoping to make a return to Augusta National following his release from prison last August after spending two years behind bars due to his conviction for assaulting a former partner. 

Despite Cabrera's desire to compete again, the 54-year-old is unlikely to receive a visa into the United States due to his criminal convictions.

LIV Golfers

We've heard a lot about how LIV Golf isn't eligible for world ranking points, meaning that it's harder for players to qualify for the major championships, but due to previous successes and the special invite of standout Joaquin Niemann, most of the names you would most like to see will be making that drive down Magnolia Lane. 

That said, Mexico's Abraham Acner (who recently won the LIV event in Hong Kong) won't be there, and neither will veteran Englishman Paul Casey, who has impressed with his performances lately.

Talor Gooch - a three-time winner on the circuit in 2023 - has generated much discussion, but the 32-year-old American (who is now ranked 512th in the OWGR) won't be making his third Masters appearance this spring.

PGA Tour Winners

Billy Horschel

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Winning a PGA Tour event is generally one way to book your ticket to Augusta National, but not if your victory comes in an alternative/opposite/additional event - you may choose your own verbiage. That is why Brice GarnettAkshay Bhatia and Vincent Norrman haven't received an invitation despite securing a title during the past 12 months.

But other notable figures have slipped of late. Keith Mitchell has played in two Masters Tournaments but won't be there in 2024, and neither will Billy Horschel, a seven-time PGA Tour winner and former BMW PGA champion, who is now 91st in the OWGR and won't (as it stands) make a tenth appearance at Augusta National in a few weeks.

Former Major Champs

If you win any major championship, then you can plan an annual trip to the Masters for the next five editions, but that exemption has now ended for Francesco Molinari, the Champion Golfer of 2018, who led the way at Augusta after three rounds in 2019, before two double bogeys on the back-nine opened the door for Tiger Woods to famously win the Masters for a fifth time.

Louis Oosthuizen won his Open Championship 14 years ago at St Andrews - but the South African has been a perennial contender in the majors ever since, including at the Masters, where he lost a playoff to Bubba Watson in 2012. However, now part of LIV, the 41-year-old has slipped down the rankings and won't be at Augusta National for the first time since 2008.

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