The time has come for the biggest event in all of golf, so I’m here with my best swing at this round of Tee Time ahead of the 2022 Masters. This will be the 86th event in the Championship’s history, and there is already so much historical significance. The par-72 event stretched across 7,510 yards starts on Thursday, April 7 at the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.
There were 91 qualifying players for this year’s Masters, but the exact field will be, as Tiger Woods put it, “a game-time decision.” Let’s tee that off.
Even if you aren’t a golf fan, you are likely aware of the car accident that Woods suffered back in February of 2021. Woods was speeding and crashed his SUV, which resulted in severe injuries to his right leg and his rib cage. Woods was worried about walking again, never mind playing golf and returning to his regularly scheduled golf matches. As a previous winner of the Masters (for quite a few years), Woods is a lifetime qualifier, so regardless of not playing on Tour this season, he is eligible. But will he?
As noted, Woods is still unsure if he’ll be at Augusta as a participant or a patron; but either way, he’s there. On Sunday, the American golfer announced that he was headed to the course to practice but hasn’t decided if he will be playing on Thursday or not. As much as I, along with many PGA golfers and fans worldwide would love to see Woods come back and win the Masters, it isn’t particularly in his favor. However, Woods is not to be counted out. The most incredible thing, though, is that despite everything Woods has endured in the past year and few months, he isn’t last on the estimated rankings ahead of this weekend as Gold Digest puts him at No. 45. Woods hasn’t played publicly all season, so above all it will be interesting to see just what his swing and ball speed looks like. Fellow American golfer Justin Thomas has been practicing with Woods lately as the PGA members are close friends and has said that Woods looks good, so we’ll have to take Thomas’ word for it for now and wait until Thursday.
Thomas, who is currently No. 7 in the world, is slated by Golf Digest to be the top golfer in Georgia. Part of this is due to Jim “Bones” Mackay coming out of caddie retirement to guide Thomas in his Masters run. Bones was Phil Mickelson’s caddie for over 25 years and the list of golfers that Mackay would return to the green for is very short, but Thomas was on that list. Thomas has been very consistent in his last few tournaments, placing 12th and fourth as of late, so the best may be yet to come.
For fellow American golfer Scottie Scheffler, the best has been here for some time and the pattern will likely continue. Scheffler is the No. 1 golfer in the world right now, and rightfully so. In his last five tournaments of 2022, Scheffler has come out on top and now he’s truly at the top of the (golf) world. Scheffler is predicted as the third-best golfer for the Masters according to Golf Digest, but I would put him two places above at the best. He’s riding quite the wave right now, and being No. 1 certainly helps. Not to mention, he’ll have Ted Scott as his caddie for Scheffler’s third Masters appearance. Scott was Bubba Watson’s caddie at one point, and played a role in Watson’s two Masters wins. Coincidence? We’ll see. Between being the golfer he is, his performance all season and especially his last few finishes, Scottie Scheffler is my pick to win the Masters.
The last player to win the Masters is Hideki Matsuyama. The Japanese golfer is the 2021 Masters winner and will be at this year’s event to defend the title. Before last year, Matsuyama was playing under the radar, making his win that much more special. In addition to his, he made even more history by being the first Japanese man to win any major championship, let alone the Masters in golf. He’s currently No. 12 in the world, but every round is different, and that position is still very respectable. As much as I am cheering for Scheffler to win considering the season he’s having right now, seeing Matsuyama go back-to-back would be an incredible thing to witness. He ended up pulling out of the most recent event, the Valero Texas Open, with a neck injury so he may also be “a game-time decision,” but he is also currently at Augusta National, hopefully feeling better.
The complete list of the qualifying players is below, alphabetical by last name. The official list of who will be playing will be announced on Thursday.
Si Woo Kim
Min Woo Lee
Jose Maria Olazabal
Erik van Rooyen
Harold Varner III
The Masters will be held from Thursday, April 7 through Sunday, April 10. The first two rounds will be broadcast on TV by ESPN with coverage by CBS for the final two rounds.