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COMMENT: VEGAS PICKS KOEPKA TO WIN 2020 MASTERS
Despite an incredible 2019, Tiger Woods doesn’t seem to get the respect and recognition he deserves.
First, Sports Illustrated bypassed him for sportsman of the year, and the Associated Press followed suit by not naming him the male athlete of the year.
Now, the Las Vegas oddsmakers are picking Brooks Koepka to win the 2020 Masters.
Koepka, who has won four major titles in the last three years, is the favorite at 8-to-1 to capture his first Masters title and fifth-career major title. Koepka has improved in his Masters finish every single time he has competed at Augusta National Golf Club. However, Koepka had off-season knee surgery and had to withdraw from the 2019 Presidents Cup after re-aggravating the injury in South Korea in October 2019. Where will he be health-wise come next April?
Woods is, incredibly, the defending Masters champion. He completed one of sport’s greatest comeback stories last April when he won his 15th major title on an unprecedented early Sunday at the Masters. He has since tied the PGA Tour wins record with an 82nd official win in October 2019 at the Zozo Championship in Japan. He was the best player on the course at the 2019 Presidents Cup in Australia — all while serving as American team captain.
There are so many more possibilities, but with three heavy favorites, the Masters could come down to an epic battle.
A good portion of the field has been set for the 2020 Masters Tournament.
The top 30 players in the race for the FedEx Cup trophy who made it to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta for this week’s Tour Championship are qualified for next year’s first major.
So far 68 players have earned a spot at Augusta National Golf Club. That list includes Augusta native Charles Howell and Aiken’s Kevin Kisner, who are both at East Lake this week.
Former Clemson golfer Lucas Glover, who won the U.S. Open in 2009, will tee it up at Augusta National for the first time since 2014. He qualified by being in the top 30 in the FedEx Cup standings, as did Abraham Ancer, Sungjae Im and Jason Kokrak. Ancer, Im and Kokrak are among those making their Masters debuts.
Previous Masters winners receive a lifetime exemption, and there are 19 players who qualified that way.
Winners of the other three majors get five-year exemptions into the Masters, and the winner of The Players gets a three-year exemption.
The Masters also rewards players who play well at the other majors, with the top four and ties receiving invitations. That means Lee Westwood, thanks to his finish at the British Open, will be back in Augusta for the first time since 2017.
Three of the six slots for amateurs have been filled. Andy Ogletree defeated John Augenstein in the finals of the U.S. Amateur last weekend, and they will join British Amateur winner James Sugrue of Ireland. The champions of the U.S. Mid-Amateur, Asia-Pacific Amateur and Latin America Amateur have yet to be determined.
There are still plenty of ways for players to qualify for the Masters. They can win a PGA Tour event (excluding events that are held opposite World Golf Championship events) or they can finish among the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking that is published at the end of 2019.
The 50 leaders in the rankings the week prior to the 2020 Masters also get in, and the tournament committee can grant special invitations to international players not qualified at its discretion.
2020 MASTERS TOURNAMENT QUALIFIERS
Abraham Ancer (17)
a-John Augenstein (7)
Angel Cabrera (1)
Patrick Cantlay (12, 15, 16, 17)
Paul Casey (17)
Corey Conners (17)
Fred Couples (1)
Jason Day (4, 12)
Bryson DeChambeau (17)
Tony Finau (12, 14, 17)
Tommy Fleetwood (14, 17)
Rickie Fowler (12, 17)
Dylan Frittelli (16)
Sergio Garcia (1)
Lucas Glover (17)
Justin Harding (12)
Max Homa (16)
Charles Howell (17)
Sungjae Im (17)
Trevor Immelman (1)
Dustin Johnson (2, 12, 15, 17)
Zach Johnson (1, 3)
Sung Kang (16)
Kevin Kisner (17)
Brooks Koepka (2, 4, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17)
Jason Kokrak (17)
Matt Kuchar (12, 17)
Bernhard Langer (1)
Nate Lashley (16)
Marc Leishman (17)
Shane Lowry (3)
Sandy Lyle (1)
Hideki Matsuyama (17)
Rory McIlroy (5, 16, 17)
Phil Mickelson (1)
Larry Mize (1)
Francesco Molinari (3, 12)
Kevin Na (16)
a-Andy Ogletree (7)
Jose Maria Olazabal (1)
Louis Oosthuizen (17)
Ryan Palmer (16)
C.T. Pan (16)
J.T. Poston (16)
Ian Poulter (12)
Jon Rahm (12, 13, 16, 17)
Chez Reavie (13, 16, 17)
Patrick Reed (1, 16, 17)
Justin Rose (13, 17)
Xander Schauffele (12, 13, 17)
Charl Schwartzel (1)
Adam Scott (1, 17)
Webb Simpson (5, 12, 17)
Vijay Singh (1)
Brandt Snedeker (17)
Jordan Spieth (1, 2, 3, 15)
Henrik Stenson (3)
a-James Sugrue (8)
Justin Thomas (4, 12, 16, 17)
Jimmy Walker (4)
Matt Wallace (15)
Bubba Watson (1, 12)
Mike Weir (1)
Lee Westwood (14)
Danny Willett (1)
Matthew Wolff (16)
Gary Woodland (2, 17)
Tiger Woods (1, 12)
Source: PGA of America
QUALIFICATION FOR INVITATION
1. Masters Tournament Champions (Lifetime)
2. US Open Champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
3. British Open Champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
4. PGA Champions (Honorary, non-competing after five years)
5. Winners of The Players Championship (Three years)
6. Current Olympic Gold Medalist (One year)
7. Current US Amateur Champion (7-A) (Honorary, non-competing after one year) and the runner-up (7-B) to the current US Amateur Champion
8. Current British Amateur Champion (Honorary, non-competing after one year)
9. Current Asia-Pacific Amateur Champion
10. Current Latin America Amateur Champion
11. Current US Mid-Amateur Champion
12. The first 12 players, including ties, in the previous year’s Masters Tournament
13. The first four players, including ties, in the previous year’s US Open Championship
14. The first four players, including ties, in the previous year’s British Open Championship
15. The first four players, including ties, in the previous year’s PGA Championship
16. Individual winners of PGA Tour events that award a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship, from previous Masters to current Masters
17. Those qualifying for the previous year’s season-ending Tour Championship
18. The 50 leaders on the Final Official World Golf Ranking for the previous calendar year
19. The 50 leaders on the Official World Golf Ranking published during the week prior to the current Masters Tournament
* The Masters Committee, at its discretion, also invites international players not otherwise qualified.