How To Qualify for the Masters: +20 Ways

The Masters Tournament is one of golf’s four major championships. It takes place the first week of April each year at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, GA.

For many, including myself, the Masters is considered the most spectacular of all the majors. When I’m watching with friends, we often discuss who can play in the Masters. Maybe one day, it’ll be me. Or it could be you. Either way, it won’t be easy.

Here’s how to qualify for the Masters:

  1. Win the Masters
  2. Win or place top 4 in another major
  3. Win the Olympics
  4. Win a PGA Tour Tournament
  5. Win a top amateur tournament
  6. Qualify for the Tour Championship
  7. Be a top 50 golfer in the Official World Rankings
  8. Receive a special invitation from the tournament committee

The Masters features the top amateur players, so you have a chance. But only the best professional and amateur golfers worldwide are selected for the most prestigious event in golf.

There were only 88 invites for the 2024 Masters. For the 2024 Masters, there will be roughly 85-90 invites.

If you want to be on that list, read on for all the ways you could play in the Masters. At the very least, you’ll be able to impress your friends with your Masters knowledge at your next watch party (at home on your couch).

Contents

Master’s Eligibility Requirements

The criteria for getting that coveted invite to the Masters include the following 20 categories:

  1. Current U.S. Amateur champion and runner-up
  2. Current British Amateur champion
  3. Current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion
  4. Current Latin America Amateur champion
  5. Current U.S. Mid-Amateur champion
  6. Current NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship individual champion
  7. PGA champions (five years)
  8. Winners of the Players Championship (three years)
  9. Those qualifying and eligible for the previous year’s season-ending Tour Championship (top 30 in FedEx Cup before the tournament)
  10. The 50 leaders on the final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year
  11. The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published during the week prior to the current Masters Tournament
  12. Masters Tournament Champions (lifetime)
  13. U.S. Open champions (five years)
  14. The Open champions (five years)
  15. Current Olympic Gold Medalist (one year)
  16. The first 12 players, including ties, in the previous year’s Masters Tournament
  17. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s U.S. Open
  18. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s Open Championship
  19. The first 4 players, including ties, in the previous year’s PGA Championship
  20. Winners of PGA Tour events that award at least a full-point allocation for the FedEx Cup, from one Masters Tournament to the next

Let’s start with the five categories that are reserved only for amateurs.

Read more: What Are The Four Majors in Golf?

How Amateur Golfers Can Qualify For The Masters (Exclusively)

Masters scoreboard (17070598420)

When Bobby Jones helped to start the Masters, he was seen as the quintessential amateur. So, showcasing the best amateur golfers has been a big part of the game’s most treasured majors.

The following categories of entry into the Masters are strictly for the amateur golfer:

1. Current U.S. Amateur Champion and Runner-Up

The winner and runner-up of the U.S. Amateur Championship are invited to play in the Masters. The 2024 U.S. Amateur Championship takes place August 14-20 at Cherry Hills CC and Colorado Golf Club in Colorado.

2. Current British Amateur Champion

The winner of the British Amateur Championship is invited to play in the Masters. The 2024 British Amateur Championship takes place June 19-24 at Hillside and Southport & Ainsdale, England.

3. Current Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion

The winner of the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship is invited to play in the Masters. The 2024 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship occurs October 26-29 at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia.

4. Current Latin America Amateur Champion

The Latin America Amateur Championship winner is invited to play in the Masters. The 2024 Latin America Amateur Championship occurs January 18-21 at Santa Maria Golf Club in Panama City, Panama.

5. Current U.S. Mid-Amateur Amateur Champion

The winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship is invited to play in the Masters. The 2024 U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship occurs September 9-14 at Sleepy Hollow Country Club and Fenway Golf Club in New York.

6. Current NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship Individual Champion

New for 2024, the individual NCAA Division I Men’s Championship winner will be invited to play in the 2024 Masters. The 2024 NCAA Division I Men’s Championship occurs May 26-31 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ.

Want to Watch The Masters In-Person? How To Get Masters Tickets: Prices, Lottery Odds, & Alternative Methods

How Professional Golfers Can Qualify For the Masters (Exclusively)

Tiger woods masters 2006

Of the 20 current entry categories to get into the Masters, 11 lean more toward professional golfers. Although, a few of those could include a very lucky amateur. Six of the categories are strictly aimed at amateurs, which we’ll cover below.

Let’s start with the five categories that are reserved only for professionals.

7. PGA Championship Champions

Winners of the PGA Championship, one of the four majors, gain a five-year exemption into the Masters. Those that qualify for this category include:

  • Brooks Koepka (2019)
  • Collin Morikawa (2020)
  • Phil Mickelson (2021)
  • Justin Thomas (2022)

8. Players Championship Champions

Winners of the Players Championship, considered by some as a fifth major, gain a five-year exemption into the Masters. Those that qualify for this category include:

  • Justin Thomas (2021)
  • Cameron Smith (2022)
  • Scottie Scheffler (2024)

9. Those Qualifying For The Previous Year’s Tour Championship (Top 30 in FedEx Cup Prior To Tournament)

The FedEx Cup is the PGA Tour’s playoff system. The top 30 players in the playoff rankings as of the finish of the BMW Championship, which is the playoff event before the Tour Championship, qualify for the finals (Tour Championship).

Those that qualify for the Masters in this category for 2024 are still yet to be determined. The 2024 Tour Championship will be played on August 21-27 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.

10. Top 50 Players On Final Official World Golf Ranking For Previous Calendar Year

The Official World Golf Rankings launched on Sunday, April 6th, 1986. It is a complex system that ranks the best players in the world of golf. The first number-one player in the world, according to the OWGR, was Bernhard Langer.

The top 50 golfers in the world, from the final order at year-end, will qualify for the following year’s Masters Tournament.

11. Top 50 Players On Final Official World Golf Ranking The Week Prior To The Masters

The top 50 golfers in the world, the week before the Masters, will get one of the final nods into that year’s Masters Tournament.

Read more: Masters Highlights: Everything You Need To Know

How Professional Or Amateur Can Qualify For The Masters

Dustin johnson - the masters par 3 contest (16637945223)

While the remainder of the categories for entry into the Masters heavily favor professionals, it is conceivable that an Am could qualify in these areas.

12. Masters Champions

Winners of the Masters gain the coveted lifetime exemption into the Masters. Those living and still actively playing that qualify for this category include:

  • Bernhard Langer
  • Fred Couples
  • José María Olazábal
  • Tiger Woods
  • Mark O’Meara
  • Vijay Singh
  • Mike Weir
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Zach Johnson
  • Trevor Immelman
  • Ángel Cabrera
  • Charl Schwartzel
  • Bubba Watson
  • Adam Scott
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Danny Willett
  • Sergio García
  • Patrick Reed
  • Dustin Johnson
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • Scottie Scheffler
  • Jon Rahm

13. U.S. Open Champions

Winners of the U.S. Open gain a five-year exemption into the Masters. Those that qualify for this category in 2024 include:

  • Gary Woodland (2019)
  • Bryson DeChambeau (2020)
  • Jon Rahm (2021)
  • Matt Fitzpatrick (2022)

14. Open Champions

Winners of the Open Championship gain a five-year exemption into the Masters. Those that qualify for this category in 2024 include:

  • Shane Lowry (2019)
  • No Championship due to COVID-19 (2020)
  • Collin Morikawa (2021)
  • Cameron Smith (2022)

15. Most Recent Olympic Gold Medal Winner

The most recent men’s golf gold medal winner gains a one-year exemption into the Masters. The golfer that qualifies for this category in 2024 is:

  • Xander Schauffele (2021)

16. First 12 players (Including Ties) In Previous Year’s Masters Tournament

Those that finish in the top 12, including ties, in the previous Masters gain exemption into the following year’s Masters. The golfers that qualify for this category in 2024 are:

  • Jon Rahm
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Patrick Reed
  • Russell Henley
  • Cameron Young
  • Victor Hovland
  • Sahith Theegala
  • Scottie Scheffler
  • Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Xander Schauffele
  • Collin Morikawa

17. First 4 players (Including Ties) In Previous Year’s U.S. Open Championship

Those that finish in the top 4, including ties, in the previous year’s U.S. Open gain an exemption into the following year’s Masters. The golfers that qualify for this category in 2024 are TBD.

The 2024 U.S. Open takes place on June 15-18 at The Los Angeles Country Club in Los Angeles, California.

18. First 4 players (Including Ties) In Previous Year’s Open Championship

Those that finish in the top 4, including ties, in the previous year’s Open Championship gain an exemption into the following year’s Masters. The golfers that qualify for this category in 2024 are TBD.

The 2024 Open Championship occurs on July 16–23 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, Merseyside, England.

19. First 4 players (Including Ties) In Previous Year’s PGA Championship

Those that finish in the top 4, including ties, in the previous year’s PGA Championship gain an exemption into the following year’s Masters. The golfers that qualify for this category in 2024 are TBD.

The 2024 PGA Championship occurs on May 18–21, 2024, at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, NY.

20. Winners of PGA Tour Events From One Masters Tournament To The Next

Those that win a PGA Tour event, which awards at least a full-point allocation for the FedEx Cup, from one Masters Tournament to the next, will gain an exemption into the Masters. The golfers that qualify for this category in 2024 so far include:

  • Matt Fitzpatrick, 2024 RBC Heritage
  • Tony Finau, 2024 Mexico Open at Vidanta

Bonus: Receive A Special Invitation

The Masters Tournament committee does indeed reserve the right to extend a special invitation to a player they are so inclined to. At this year’s Masters, the tournament committee extended a special invitation to Japanese professional Kazuki Higa and reigning NCAA champion Gordon Sargent. Incidentally, the reigning NCAA Division I Men’s Champion will now be a permanent qualifier for the Masters.

More great info on Golf Span: Burns Triumphs at World Golf Championships Recap

FAQ

How Do Liv Golfers Qualify for the Masters?

LIV golfers can qualify for the Masters the same as any other player. However, World Golf Rankings points are not being extended to any of the LIV events, making entry that much harder for them.

How Long Can You Play in the Masters if You Win?

Masters winners can continue to play in the Masters for as long as they feel they can. 63-year-old past Masters Champion Fred Couples became the oldest player to make the cut this year.

Can Amateurs Compete in the Masters Golf Tournament?

Absolutely! The Masters has a long history of inviting qualified amateurs into the Masters. In this year's Masters, Texas A&M golfer Sam Bennett held firm in third place at 8-under going into the Friday afternoon round.

In Summary

Now you know how you can go to Augusta to play with your favorite pros.

To recap how to qualify for the Masters, you can win or place top 4 in another major, win the Olympics, win a PGA Tour Tournament, or win a top amateur tournament. You can also get invited to the Masters by qualifying for the Tour Championship, being a top 50 golfer in the Official World Rankings, or receiving a special invitation from the tournament committee.

If it doesn’t happen for you, then you’re in good company (mine so far). But we can still watch the drama from the comfort of home. Or check out how you can get Masters tickets, which is the next closest thing.

Brendon is Class A PGA Professional and founded Little Linksters, LLC, and its nonprofit arm, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. He won 25+ prestigious industry honors, including the 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award. He graduated from the PGA of America Management Program and has a handicap index of 7.8.

He has played golf for over 40 years and currently plays twice a month at the Eagle Dunes Golf Club near Sorrento, Florida. He loves Srixon clubs and plays a ZX5 driver with Z 585 irons. He's written over 60 articles on GolfSpan and specializes in sharing tips to improve your golf game. You can connect with Brendon at LinkedIn, X, IG, FB, his website, or BrendonElliott@pga.com.

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