Masters 2021: Who are the amateurs playing at Augusta?
The US Masters returns to its traditional slot in early April for 2021 as the first of the year’s golf majors. While the question on everyone’s lips is who will put on the green jacket as winner at Augusta, there is also the intrigue over which amateur will lift the coveted Silver Cup.
Having been shifted to the autumn in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic forced the golfing calendar to be rescheduled, the Masters will have a familiar look into 2021. Azalea will be in bloom and the fresh spring air of Georgia will be the order of the day.
Playing at Augusta is a big deal for professionals chasing their dream of becoming a major winner. Even more so for the leading amateurs of the game looking for a significant prize before they turn professional. That’s because of the fact that since first introduced in 1952, the Silver Cup has been awarded to the lowest amateur in the Masters – and some notable names have won it their early golf reviews careers.
Needing to make the 36-hole cut to be in with a chance of winning it, past winners include Jack Nicklaus (1960), Ben Crenshaw (1972 & 1973), Curtis Strange (1976), Phil Mickelson (1991), Tiger Woods (1995), Matt Kuchar (1998), Sergio Garcia (1999), Hideki Matsuyama (2011), Patrick Cantlay (2012), Bryson DeChambeau (2015) and Viktor Hovland (2019).
It will be a small but select field battling for the Silver Cup this year at Augusta from April 8-11. After the golfing calendar was hit hard during the Covid-19 outbreak, just three of the leading amateur events that guarantee a spot in the Masters field were held. That means just a trio of talented young amateurs will join defending champion Dustin Johnson and the world’s best at Augusta National.
The three contenders for this year’s prize is the lowest number of amateurs ever, and a far cry from the record of 1966 when 26 were among the line-up at Augusta. The closest one has got to winning the tournament outright was in 1947 when Frank Stranahan ended in second place, while Ken Venturi was runner-up in 1956 and Charlie Coe was second in 1961. Billy Joe Patton, meanwhile, was third in 1954.
Who are the three amateurs teeing it up at the 2021 US Masters? We take a look at the trio:
Tyler Strafaci (World Amateur Golf Ranking – 13th)
Tyler Strafaci earned his place in the Masters when becoming US Amateur champion last year. He needed all 36 holes to get the better of Ollie Osborne 1 up in the biggest event on the amateur calendar. The 23-year-old from Davie, Florida, is a graduate of the Georgia Tech College and will follow playing at the Masters by representing the United States in the Walker Cup against Great Britain & Ireland at Seminole Golf Club in Florida in May.
Strafaci has enjoyed a fruitful amateur career, becoming the number one ranked golfer in Florida. He won the North & South Amateur and Palmetto Amateur titles last year as well as the US Amateur crown. He will turn professional immediately after his appearances in the Masters, where he will bid to follow in the footsteps of former Georgia Tech room-mate Andy Ogletree – who was top amateur at last year’s US Masters, and Walker Cup.
Strafaci has already made his debut on the PGA Tour having appeared in the Valspar Championship in March 2018. The talented young golfer has major experience too having qualified for the 2018 US Open at Shinnecock Hills where he missed the cut.
Ollie Osborne (World Amateur Golf Ranking – 252nd)
Officially Charles Osborne, the 20-year-old Ollie was runner-up to Tyler Strafaci in the 2020 US Amateur Championship last year. It went down to the wire before he lost out on the 36th and final hole. The youngster, who is from Reno, Nevada, has two college tournament wins on his resume having won the Ocean Course Invitational and Royal Oaks Intercollegiate. He is a sophomore at Southern Methodist University and has made one PGA Tour start. Osborne debuted in the Barracuda Championship at his home course of Montreux.
Joe Long (World Amateur Golf Ranking – 47th)
Englishman Joe Long earned a trip across the Atlantic as a result of winning the British Amateur Championship. Hailing from Bristol in the south west of England, Long is 23 years old and ranked 47th in the world in the amateur game. He become British Amateur champion when defeating fellow Englishman Joe Harvey 4&3 over 36 holes at Open Championship venue Royal Birkdale.