These 20 golfers are making their Masters debuts in 2024 at Augusta

These 20 golfers are making their Masters debuts in 2024 at Augusta

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AUGUSTA, Ga. —  Some veterans have a few tips of advice for 11th-hour Masters Tournament participant Akshay Bhatia and the other 19 golfers making their debut at Augusta National Golf Club this week.

Bhatia won a playoff in the Valeron Texas Open on Sunday night, making him the final entrant in the 88th Masters, which begins on Thursday. The starting field has 89 players.

It’s been such a whirlwind that Bhatia said on Tuesday afternoon that he “really can’t” remember much of what had happened in the previous 24 hours.

Bhatia flew into Augusta after his victory in San Antonio, arriving at 1:30 a.m. He made it to Augusta National by 2 p.m., did a news conference at 4 p.m. and then decided to “take it easy. This is seven weeks in a row for me, so it’s a lot of golf, but I also have a ton of adrenaline so it kind of balances out.”

Because of a recurrent shoulder problem that he fought through to win Sunday, Bhatia doesn’t know how much practice he’ll get in on Tuesday. He said he wants to play in the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday.

Keegan Bradley, who is playing in his eighth Masters, hopes the rookies take in the whole experience as much as they can. He wishes he had in during his 2012 debut.

“I was a nervous wreck,” he said. “You can miss the accomplishment in your career to get out here. I think you got to take a second is and enjoy being here. I wish I took a little more time to look around and see where I was and how far I had come in my career to be teeing it up in the Masters. I would really take the time to really enjoy and look around. It’s such a stressful week, especially the first one.”

Augusta resident Luke List is playing in his third Masters. His first, in 2005, was as an amateur. When he returned as a pro in 2020, he followed the same strategy he had on first Masters: Stick to your game plan.

“There will be some bad stuff happening out there and you try not to be too aggressive when that happens,” List said. “Just plod along. And there is some opportunities out here, but also a lot of the holes that will jump up and get you. For me, just trying to stay in my routine and my game plan I guess.”

2024 Masters Tournament

Flags fly on the scoreboard during a practice round for the 2024 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. (Photo: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Network)

The 20 first-timers this year is six off the record set in 2020. Heading up this year’s group is current U.S. Open champion Wyndam Clark. He played in September’s Ryder Cup for the U.S. Also in that event were Masters rookies Ludvig Aberg and Nicolai Hojgaard.

Nine of the rookies punched their ticket with PGA Tour victories, with Lee Hodges, in the 3M Open in last July, being the lone entry from the 2023 Masters in April to the end of the year.

After that, they came fast and furious early in 2024 and then in the runup to the Masters. There were three winners in January, two in February, two in March and one in April.

In fact, the last three tournaments have seen the winner earn a Masters invitation – Peter Malnati at Valspar, Stephan Jaeger in the Houston Open and Bhatia.

“Just to be standing here, it’s amazing, and just having the opportunity, the members giving us the opportunity to play their golf course is certainly special, and I can’t wait to be on that first tee on Thursday,” Bhatia said.

In addition to Bhatia, Clark, Aberg, Hojgaard, Malnati and Jaeger, the other Masters rookies are pros Eric Cole, Nick Dunlap, Austin Eckroat, Ryo Hisatsune, Lee Hodges, Jake Knapp, Denny McCarthy, Grayson Murray, Matthieu Pavon and Adam Schenk.

There are also five amateurs competing in this year’s event.

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