How to qualify for the Masters, the world's most prestigious golf tournament

The Masters is the most prestigious golf tournament in the world and most golfers yearn for an invitation.

As it turns out, there are 19 different ways in which a golfer can come to receive an invitation. Many players actually qualify under multiple criteria, including Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Jason Day, who all qualify under seven of the 19 different categories.

The qualifications are also always changing. For example, the USGA no longer holds the US public links championship where the winner used to receive an invite to the Masters. On the flip side, the Latin American amateur champ is a recent addition, and the reigning Olympic gold medalist is now an automatic qualifier.

Below we take a look at the 19 different ways a golfer can qualify for the Masters and which of this year's 94 golfers qualified under each. The golfers are only listed under their first qualification.

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How to qualify for the Masters Tournament
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How to qualify for the Masters Tournament

1. Winners of a previous Masters receive a lifetime invitation. There are 18 players in this year's tournament who have already won at least one green jacket: 

  • Adam Scott
  • Angel Cabrera
  • Bernhard Langer
  • Bubba Watson
  • Charl Schwartzel
  • Danny Willett
  • Fred Couples
  • Ian Woosnam
  • Jordan Spieth
  • Jose Maria Olazabal
  • Larry Mize
  • Mark O'Meara
  • Mike Weir
  • Phil Mickelson
  • Sandy Lyle
  • Trevor Immelman
  • Vijay Singh
  • Zach Johnson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Because of the qualifications, the Masters' field does not have a set size. This is important because it means older players with lifetime invitations are not taking spots from somebody who may have a better chance to compete.

Here, Sandy Lyle of Scotland hits his tee shot on the second hole during the second round of the 2015 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 10, 2015 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Notable past champions who are still eligible to play but are not in the field include Tiger Woods (who is injured), Ben Crenshaw, Fuzzy Zoeller, Nick Faldo, Craig Stadler, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, and Tom Watson.

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

2. Golfers receive an invitation if they have won the US Open in the last five years:

  • Dustin Johnson
  • Justin Rose
  • Martin Kaymer
  • Webb Simpson

Jordan Spieth would also qualify here, but he is already in as a past Masters champ.

(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

3. Likewise, golfers receive an invitation for having won the Open Championship in the last five years.

  • Ernie Els
  • Henrik Stenson
  • Rory McIlroy

Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson would also qualify here but are already in as past Masters champs.

(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

4. Winners of the PGA Championship in the last five years also receive an invitation.

  • Jason Day
  • Jason Dufner
  • Jimmy Walker

Rory McIlroy has won two PGAs in the last five years, but is already in as a winner of the Open Championship in 2014.

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

5. Winners of The Players Championship in the previous three years are qualified for the Masters.

  • Rickie Fowler

Martin Kaymer and Jason Day would also qualify here.

(Photo by Josh Hedges/Getty Images)

6. The current Olympic Gold Medalist is a new qualification. Justin Rose meets this criteria, however, he is already in for winning the US Open in 2013.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

7. The current US Amateur champion and the runner-up automatically qualify

  • Curtis Luck
  • Brad Dalke
(Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)

8. The current British Amateur champion also receives an invitation

  • Scott Gregory
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

9. As does the current Asia-Pacific Amateur champion. Curtis Luck, the US Amateur champ, is also the Asia-Pacific champ.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

10. The current Latin America Amateur champion is now an automatic qualification.

  • Toto Gana
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

11. The current US Mid-Amateur champion gets to play in the Masters.

  • Stewart Hagestad
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

12. Players who finished in the Top 12 (including ties) in last year's Masters Tournament get to come back if not already qualified. This year, 8 golfers qualify here. However, all 8 would have also qualified under one of the remaining criteria.

  • Brandt Snedeker
  • Daniel Berger
  • Hideki Matsuyama
  • J.B. Holmes
  • Lee Westwood
  • Matt Fitzpatrick
  • Paul Casey
  • Soren Kjeldsen
(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

13. Players who finished in the Top 4 (including ties) in the previous year's U.S. Open also automatically qualify.

  • Jim Furyk
  • Scott Piercy
  • Shane Lowry
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

14. Players who finished in the top 4 (including ties) in the previous year's Open Championship get to play in the Masters. Steve Stricker finished fourth. Otherwise, he would not be in the Masters this year.

(Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

15. Also, players who finished in the top 4 of the previous year's PGA Championship get invites.

  • Branden Grace
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Daniel Summerhays

Daniel Summerhays would not be in the Masters if he had not finished third at the PGA.

(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

16. Another 21 golfers are in because they won a qualified PGA Tour event in the 12 months since the last Masters. This includes Russell Henley who qualified with a win at the Houston Open just four days before the start of the Masters.

  • Adam Hadwin
  • Billy Hurley III
  • Brendan Steele
  • Brian Stuard
  • Charley Hoffman
  • Hudson Swafford
  • James Hahn
  • Jhonattan Vegas
  • Jon Rahm
  • Justin Thomas
  • Mackenzie Hughes
  • Marc Leishman
  • Pat Perez
  • Patrick Reed
  • Rod Pampling
  • Russell Henley
  • Russell Knox
  • Ryan Moore
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Si Woo Kim
  • William McGirt
(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

17. A few big names qualified by being in last year's season-ending Tour Championship.

  • Emiliano Grillo
  • Gary Woodland
  • Kevin Chappell
  • Kevin Kisner
  • Kevin Na
  • Matt Kuchar
  • Roberto Castro
  • Sean O'Hair

(Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

18. Being among the top 50 players in the final World Golf Ranking last year is another qualification

  • Alex Noren
  • Andy Sullivan
  • Bernd Wiesberger
  • Bill Haas
  • Byeong Hun An
  • Chris Wood
  • Francesco Molinari
  • Louis Oosthuizen
  • Rafa Cabrera-Bello
  • Thomas Pieters
  • Tyrrell Hatton
  • Yuta Ikeda
(Photo by Darren Carroll/Getty Images)

19. The final qualification goes to golfers who were not among the top 50 in the World Golf Ranking at the end of the 2016 season, but are in the top 50 in the most recent ranking. These four golfers got into the top 50 recently and are now in the Masters.

  • Hideto Tanihara
  • Jeunghun Wang
  • Ross Fisher
  • Tommy Fleetwood
(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Finally, the Masters Committee can also extend invitations to international players who are not otherwise qualified. This year, no players received such invites.

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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