*UPDATE: See the full field as of March 31, 2010 here.
I was reminded how much I love The Masters when the field was announced on Friday. Three months still stand between now and April, but I can’t wait. After all, it’s the first major of the year (“a tradition like no other!”) and some consider it the “official” start of the golf season. I tend to get pretty sappy about the tournament, so that’s something else to look forward to.
Currently, 91 players have earned spots to compete for the Green Jacket, including 16 newcomers and six amateurs. 49 of them originally hail from countries outside of the United States. Invitations will also be given to players who win a full-field PGA Tour event and finish in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings the week before the Masters.
Notable tournament newbies include:
Simon Dyson (England), Nathan Green (Australia), Yuta Ikeda (Japan), Francesco Molinari and Nationwide Tour player of the year Michael Sim…
U.S. Amateur champ Byeong-Hun An of Korea, U.S. Amateur runner-up Ben Martin, U.S. Amateur Public Links champ Brad Benjamin, British Amateur champ Matteo Manassero, Open Championship low amateur Chris Wood and Han Chang-won of Korea, who won the inaugural Asian Amateur Championship…
Seventeen-year-old Han’s invitation was unprecedented and an encouraging acknowledgment of the growing Asian factor in professional golf. (Watch out!)
With Han, An, Wood, Rory McIlroy and Ryo Ishikawa in the field, it looks like there will be a fair amount of youthful talent displayed at Augusta this year. Now Rickie Fowler just needs to find a way to qualify — which means playing his way to the winner’s circle, like soon.
And obviously, Tiger received an invitation, but whether he’ll play is still TBD — but I’d be shocked if he didn’t and most expect him to return, especially since the controlled, stuffy atmosphere will curb the inevitable heckling from fans.
For the list of invitees to date, go to Geoff Shackelford.
[Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images]