TWO more players added to The Masters field as PGA Tour clash with LIV Golf

More players added to The Masters field as the countdown to Augusta continues...

TWO more players added to The Masters field as PGA Tour clash with LIV Golf
TWO more players added to The Masters field as PGA Tour clash with LIV Golf

The Masters has today confirmed that reigning NCAA champion Gordon Sargent and Japan's 2022 Order of Merit winner Kazuki Higa have been added to the field ahead of the first major of the season at Augusta National from April 6 to 9. 

America's Sargent, 19, becomes the first amateur golfer to accept a special invite to play in The Masters since Australia's Aaron Baddeley in 2000. 

Augusta National has also confirmed that Higa, who won the rankings race in Japan last season, has been added to the field. 

Higa won four times in 2022 and he is now ranked 68th in the Official World Golf Rankings. 

This takes the number of invited participants to The Masters this year to 80

There are also be a few more invites for one player on the Latin America Amateur Championship, winners of upcoming PGA Tour events who have yet to receive an invite, as well as any players finding themselves in the Top 50 of the OWGR a week prior to the start of the tournament. 

News emerged yesterday that ticket prices for The Masters have dramatically risen in value

But given the PGA Tour's finest are about to clash with LIV Golf's best for the first time in nine months, you can sort of understand the price hike. 

Related: Who has qualified for the 2023 Masters so far?

Before the end of last year, The Masters confirmed that all eligible LIV Golf players will be able to compete at Augusta National. 

That means the likes of Cameron Smith, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia and Bryson DeChambeau among others will all be in the field as they come up against their arch rivals on the PGA Tour for the first time since the 150th Open Championship.

Bubba Watson, twice a winner of The Masters, will also be in the field - but he may be given a separate table by reigning champion Scottie Scheffler at the Champons Dinner. 

The PGA Tour's top players will of course be in the field, too, including Rory McIlroy who goes in search of completing the career grand slam. 

Only five players have achieved the feat of winning all of golf's four majors in the modern era, comprising Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods, the latter of whom will be playing in the tournament providing his fitness levels maintain. 

While LIV Golf players who continue to hold membership on the PGA Tour remain suspended by CEO Jay Monahan, The Masters is run by Augusta National and so they have chosen to go down a different path. 

A decision will shortly be made by the R&A on its official stance about LIV Golf players competing in the Open Championship at Royal Liverpool.

Of the decision to invite both Sargent and Higa to the 2023 Masters, Augusta National chairman Fred Ridley said: 

"The Masters Tournament prioritizes opportunities to elevate both amateur and professional golf around the world.
"Thus, we have extended invitations to two deserving players not otherwise qualified.
"Whether on the international stage or at the elite amateur level, each player has showcased their talent in the past year.
"We look forward to hosting them at Augusta National in April."

Sargent, who plays out of Vanderbilt, has quickly established himself as one of the game's rising young talents in just three semesters. 

He has progressed to third in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, and he is also the first freshman to win the NCAA's top prize since 2007. 

Vanderbilt golf coach Scott Limbaugh told Golf Channel: 

“There is simply not a greater honor in golf than to be invited to play in the Masters Tournament.
"We are thrilled for Gordon and especially proud of the way he represents our university and golf program with high character and integrity in everything he does.
"This is certainly another great opportunity for him to showcase his talents on the grandest of stages.”  

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