The 2020 Masters field is set even though the first tee shot won’t be in the air for seven months. The event has added four golfers to bump its field from 92 to 96 for the Nov. 12-15 competition.
Scottie Scheffler, Collin Morikawa, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Graeme McDowell all got into the 2020 Masters by being inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings when they were frozen on March 20. They likely would have gotten in if the Masters had been played on its normal date as everyone in the top 50 in the world the week before the Masters is in the tournament.
What gets lost is that anyone who would have won tournaments between the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Masters also would have gotten a chance to play Augusta National. Those tournaments have obviously been canceled.
The bigger news here is that if any golfers win events between now and the Masters in November, they will qualify for the 2021 Masters instead. Normally, a golfer would qualify for the next Masters played by winning a full-field tournament, but normally, Masters are not played within five months of each other.
For Morikawa, Scheffler and Bezuidenhout, this will be their first Masters. It will be McDowell’s 10th. He has two top-25 finishes.
The field size of 96 is fairly large. Three of the last four were in the 80s, and you have to go back to 2015 when there were 97 in the field to find one that’s bigger. It makes sense to finalize the field now so that any summer or fall winners get in the 2021 Masters because you don’t want disproportionate field sizes in 2020.
However, as Will Gray pointed out, you could get a PGA Championship winner in August or U.S. Open winner in September who, if not already qualified, would be unable to complete in the 2020 Masters. That would be pretty strange.
Regardless, we have our 96 golfers for the 2020 Masters. We have a date for the 2020 Masters. We may in fact have a 2020 Masters. It won’t look the same as it would have in April, but the field we’re going to get will very closely resemble the one we would have had in a pre-coronavirus world.