2016 Masters Tournament: Amateurs in the Field

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2016 Masters

Sport, Golf, pic: May 1930, USA’s Bobby Jones, pictured at St, Andrews playing from the rough in the Amateur Golf Championships (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

The 2016 Masters field includes 6 amateur players, their presence Bobby Jones’ enduring legacy to the tournament.

The 2016 Masters field includes 6 amateurs who range in age from 16 to 35. Three are from the United States, 1 each from China, Costa Rica, and France. They bring hopes and dreams and the awareness that no amateur has ever won the Masters.

Amateurs have always had a place at The Masters. Bobby Jones made sure of that in 1934, when he invited 10 outstanding amateurs to join him at The Masters’ inaugural and play alongside 50 professional golfers at Augusta National, the place 2014 US Amateur Champion Gunn Yang has characterized as “sacred ground for golf.”

The amateurs are invited to stay in the Crow’s Nest. It’s a special spot at Augusta National, a 30′ x 40′ cupola room, surrounded on all sides by windows, accessible only by a ladder. There are partitioned sleeping cubicles and a common space with a game table, a television, sofas, chairs, a telephone, golf books, not an especially glamorous space, but just about as close to perfect as you can get for those amateur champions who are sleeping on dizzying dreams of elusive green jackets.

Could an amateur be slipping on the coveted green jacket Sunday afternoon at the 2016 Masters? It’s never been done. Ken Venturi still holds the record for the best amateur finish at Augusta National, the solo runner-up he recorded in 1956.

Charles Coe got a T2 finish in 1961 and Ryan Moore finished inside the top-20 in 2005. If the past is a predictor of the future, the amateurs in the 2016 Masters field aren’t even likely to play the weekend.

On the other hand, there’s considerable raw talent in the amateur field this year and there are some splendid personal stories behind these players. It’s an international field of proven, if unlikely champions. Whether or not they make the cut, let’s get to know them before tee time.

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