Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
By Joel Beall
The Masters, perennially the paramount event of the golf calendar, feels even bigger this year with a host of engaging storylines and return of a certain 14-time major winner. Somewhat ironic, as the Masters field is smaller than it has been in decades.
Four players qualified for the tournament via Official World Golf Ranking following the WGC-Match Play, and one spot is potentially up for grabs at this week’s Houston Open. But with Brooks Koepka officially dropping out of the proceedings—the reigning U.S. Open champion remains sidelined with a wrist injury—the 2018 Masters field will feature no more than 87 players, the smallest amount of entrants since 1997.
Late additions to the field were Cameron Smith, Chez Reavie, Satoshi Kodaira and Dylan Frittelli, gaining entry for finishing inside the OWGR Top 50. The Houston Open winner also receives a Masters invitation if he’s not already eligible. Ian Poulter was informed by various entities after Saturday morning’s Match Play victory that he had accumulated enough OWGR points for a Masters invite, only to discover 10 minutes before his quarterfinals match that one more win was required to earn his spot. Poulter lost that match 8 & 6 to Kevin Kisner, and now needs to win in Houston to play at Augusta National.