LIV Golfers Playing in the 2023 Masters

It’s Masters week and always an exciting week for all golf fans! The media will focus on the usual topics; what is being served at the Champions dinner, changes to the course, who will win. This year, I am positive another focus will be on the LIV players; how are they treated (by other players, in the media room, and by fans), and what are the odds a LIV player could win the championship.

So it made me wonder which LIV players were invited. Looking at the official list of invitees on the Masters website it turns out 18 LIV players were sent invitations. The players qualified to play because of various reasons. Below are the players grouped by how they qualified for the 2023 Masters. Note: Some of the players fit more than one qualifying category so I list them under the more impressive category to me (e.g., Past Winners vs Top 50 player in the Official World Golf Ranking).

Past Masters Winners

  1. Sergio Garcia (won 2017)
  2. Dustin Johnson (won 2020)
  3. Patrick Reed (won 2018)
  4. Charles Schwartzel (won 2011)
  5. Phil Mickelson (Won 2004, 2006, 2010)
  6. Bubba Watson (Won 2012, 2014)

2022 Winner of The Open and Players Championship

  1. Cameron Smith

Won The U.S. Open or PGA Championship within the last 5 years

  1. Bryson DeChambeau
  2. Brooks Koepka

Qualified for 2022 Season Ending Tour Championship & in top 50 OWGR

  1. Joaquin Niemann
  2. Taylor Gooch

2022 PGA Championship – Top 4

  1. Mito Pereira

Ranked in the top 50 of OWGR for previous calendar year

  1. Abraham Ancer
  2. Jason Kokrak
  3. Kevin Na
  4. Louis Oosthuizen
  5. Thomas Pieters
  6. Harold Varner III

I believe once the championship begins play on Thursday that the chatter about LIV will fade away unless a LIV player is actually in contention.


The great, good, bad, and the ugly at the Masters

Everyone that watched the Masters will have an opinion on moments that were great, good, bad, and ugly. There is no shortage of examples but I’ve picked one player for each category and I also share the player I believe manages to fall into all four categories.

First, the greatest moment had to be Bubba Watson on the second hole of the sudden-death playoff.  His 40-foot hook-draw shot from the trees, off the pine needles, on to the green to put himself in position to win was awesome.  Of course it ended in the most touching moment when he was embraced by his mother (normally, the wife is there to share the moment; but his wife was at home with their new baby son).

My vote for the number one good moment — the run that Matt Kucher was making on Sunday to finish with a 69.  When Kucher made an eagle on the 15th hole (par 5) and went to 4 under par it was just fun to see a player so happy.  There was no arrogance, just joy, in his response.

Unfortunately, the bad moments in professional golf tournaments are not always bad shots but bad behavior.  Tiger woods wins the bad moment award for drop-kicking his putter. Tiger later apologized but I am tired of professional athletes misbehaving and apologizing later.  These are “adults” and need to stop acting like children when something goes wrong.

My favorite player, Phil Mickelson, had the ugliest moment. His effort to try to hack the ball out of the bushes at the 4th hole resulted in a triple-bogey. What was he thinking?  I mean that would be the kind of stupid shot I would try (not because I could make it but because I am an amateur and don’t always make good decisions).  On the other hand, I’m not totally surprised by his choice. I like Phil because he is a risk taker and is exciting to watch.  Unfortunately, this time it turned out ugly.

So what could possibly be great, good, bad, and ugly?  It is the final round score card of the low Amateur, Patrick Cantlay.  Look at the card below — birdies, bogeys, double-bogeys, a quadruple-bogey, and eagles!  Most golfers would have fallen apart after what Cantlay did on the 13th and 14th holes (quadruple-bogey and double-bogey) but he turned it around on 15 with an eagle.  What a great final four holes — eagle, birdie, birdie, par!

Patrick Cantlay Score Card

Cantlay is viewed by many as the best amateur in the game right now and getting the “low amateur” trophy is a good indicator of his future. By the way, other past “low amateur” winners include Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.