LIV-ING IT UP IN AUGUSTA: Which LIV Golf players will be featuring at The Masters 2023
Unless you’ve been living a life sheltered away from the world of golf, LIV Golf is a new golf league that launched in 2022 with a different format and structure than the traditional PGA Tour.
LIV Golf features 12 teams of four players each, competing in 14 events throughout the year for individual and team prizes. Some of the biggest names in golf, such as Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, have joined LIV Golf and are enjoying the benefits of guaranteed money, no cuts and shorter tournaments.
However, one of the drawbacks of joining LIV Golf is that it may affect their eligibility for major championships, such as The Masters. The Masters is one of the most prestigious and exclusive events in golf, with only about 90 players invited each year based on various criteria. The Masters does not have a formal qualification system, but rather relies on its own invitation policy that considers factors such as world ranking, past performance and special exemptions.
So can LIV Golf players compete in the 2023 Masters? Yes, but it depends on several factors:
World ranking: The top 50 players in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) at the end of 2022 and one week before the 2023 Masters will receive an invitation. However, since LIV Golf events are not sanctioned by any of the six professional tours that make up the OWGR system (PGA Tour, European Tour, Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour), they do not earn any world ranking points for playing in them. This means that LIV Golf players will have to rely on their performance in other events outside of LIV Golf to maintain or improve their world ranking. For example, Dustin Johnson was ranked No. 1 in the world when he joined LIV Golf in June 2022, but he dropped to No. 9 by February 2023 after playing only two non-LIV events (the Open Championship and WGC-FedEx St Jude Invitational) in between.
Past performance: The Masters also invites all past champions (unless they decline), as well as all players who finished in the top 12 (and ties) at the previous year's Masters. This means that some LIV Golf players who have won or performed well at Augusta National before will still get an invitation for 2023. For example, Phil Mickelson is a three-time Masters champion (2004, 2006 and 2010) and finished tied for seventh at the 2022 Masters, so he will be eligible to play in 2023 regardless of his world ranking or other factors.
Recent major winners: The Masters also invites the winners of golf‘s three other majors. That means last year’s The Open winner Cameron Smith, will join Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka in Augusta.
Special exemptions: The Masters also has a discretionary power to invite any player it deems worthy of competing based on their career achievements or current form. This is usually reserved for international players who may not have enough opportunities to qualify through other criteria or for veterans who have made significant contributions to golf history. For example, in recent years, some notable special invitees include Shugo Imahira (2019), Ryo Ishikawa (2015) and Thaworn Wiratchant (2013). It is possible that some LIV Golf players who have impressive resumes but do not meet the other criteria could receive a special exemption from the Masters committee if they request one.
Whether LIV Golf players made the list for the 2023 Masters has depended on tournaments results outside of LIV Golf, how they rank in the world, how they performed at previous Masters, and whether they receive a special invitation from Augusta National.
The full list of LIV Golfers playing in The Masters 2023 includes: