Just this morning I read an article on Golf Digest about the Mid-Amateur champion who also happens to be a fire fighter. Dreamers, I love them.
I'm smiling right now thinking about last year's Masters - Garcia, Rose, playoff, and yet another standing ovation in my living room. A green jacket means an invitation for life. Awesome.
Also today I checked out the field for next week's Houston Open...the last chance for a PGA Tour winner to get into the field. I smiled from ear to ear when I saw Steve Stricker in the Houston field, because, while I know it's a long shot, I still want to see Stricker with a green jacket!! (he was one shot off of getting into the top 12 last year to get an automatic invitation!)
How do you get to Augusta and play for a Green Jacket?
QUALIFICATION FOR INVITATION
- Masters Tournament Champions (Lifetime)
- US Open Champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
- British Open Champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
- PGA Champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
- Winners of The Players Championship (Three years)
- Current Olympic Gold Medalist (One year)
- Current US Amateur Champion (7-A) (Honorary, non-competing after one year) and the runner-up (7-B) to the current US Amateur Champion
- Current British Amateur Champion (Honorary, non-competing after one year)
- Current Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion
- Current Latin America Amateur Champion
- Current US Mid-Amateur Champion
- The first 12 players, including ties, in the previous year's Masters Tournament
- The first four players, including ties, in the previous year's US Open Championship
- The first four players, including ties, in the previous year's British Open Championship
- The first four players, including ties, in the previous year's PGA Championship
- Individual winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship, from previous Masters to current Masters
- Those qualifying for the previous year's season-ending Tour Championship
- The 50 leaders on the Final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year
- The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published during the week prior to the current Masters Tournament
Then we're down to the Houston Open...I just read a tweet from Ian Poulter that he will contemplate playing in the Houston Open on Tuesday since his loss at the Match Play didn't move him up enough on the OWGR. Interesting times!
Right now there are 83 players qualified to tee it up at Augusta National, including 6 amateurs. Fourteen are first time invitees. I couldn't help but scan the field for players I'd hope would be there but currently aren't. Obviously tops on my list is Steve Stricker, but a few other players I'd love to see on the first tee would include Bill Haas (currently #73 on the OWGR), Brandt Snedeker (#76), Lee Westwood (#89), and Luke Donald (#186).
Of the players in the field, Jordan Spieth qualified with the most options...7 of them...then it was Rory McIlory with 6. In the field are 20 former Masters Champions...13 of which are using that as their only qualifying options to get an invitation. It's hard to believe that Tiger Woods is one of them. Another 13 past champions have indicated their are not taking the option of being in the field.
There is so much that I love about the Masters I know I'll be writing more between now and then...but until then, I'll keep watching the OWGR and the Houston Open to see the final field...then it's the magic of figuring out who might win!
Azaleas, pine straw, Rae's Creek, patrons....I can't wait for those...oh, and maybe some great golf shots by some of the greatest golfers in the world.
If you love it as much as I do, I'm guessing you've got the countdown going, too. Masters Week, I can't wait to see you again.