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The Masters - Preview Day 1 Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images

The Masters is finally starting, and likely has as of your reading this. So let’s take a look at the field and some of the tee times.

In December, Augusta National said they would invite LIV Tour golfers if they had already qualified for an invitation. The other majors have said the same, even though they are suspended by the PGA Tour (a separate organization that runs the Tour but doesn’t host a major championship). So this is the largest gathering of LIV and their former colleagues of the PGA and DP World Tour. To date, there doesn’t seem to have been any awkwardness but then again we weren’t at the Champions Dinner Tuesday night.

The only reason I bring this up is because the LIV golf startup really did tear at the fabric of men’s professional golf. Lawsuits on all sides are still ongoing, and it has jeopardized players careers (or at least caused them to evaluate options when doors are opened/closed). And this is the first, and largest, showcase of the two sides. It just so happens to be at the most popular golf event in the world.

LIV golfers who have won the Masters and are invited back for life as past champions:

1. Dustin Johnson- 2020 Masters Champion
2. Bubba Watson – 2012 and 2014 Masters Champion
3. Patrick Reed – 2018 Masters Champion
4. Sergio Garcia – 2017 Masters Champion
5. Phil Mickelson – 2004, 2006, and 2010 Masters Champion
6. Charl Schwartzel – 2011 Masters Champion

LIV golfers Qualified for the Masters via other criteria:

1. Cameron Smith – 5 year exemption for 2022 Open Champion
2. Brooks Koepak - 5 year exemption for 2019 US Open Champion
3. Harold Varner III – top 50 as of end of 2022
4. Abraham Ancer – top 50 as of end of 2022
5. Bryson DeChambeau – 5 year exemption for 2020 US Open Champion
6. Talor Gooch - – top 50 as of end of 2022
7. Jason Kokrak – top 50 as of end of 2022
8. Kevin Na – top 50 as of end of 2022
9. Joaquin Niemann – top 50 as of end of 2022
10. Louis Oosthuizen – top 50 as of end of 2022
11. Mito Peirera – top 50 as of end of 2022 (and top 4 of 2022 PGA Championship)
12. Thomas Pieters – top 50 as of end of 2022

And that’s all I’ll say about that.

There are 16 players making their Masters debut, and that list includes US Amateur runner up Ben Carr, the standout Georgia Southern Eagle.

And it will be the last Masters for some. Sandy Lyle, the 1988 Champion, has announced this will be the last year he competes. The same for Augusta native, and current Columbus, GA resident Larry Mize. Mize won one of the more dramatic Masters when he survived against 2 time Masters champ Seve Ballesteros and (then) number 1 in the world Greg Norman, one of many famous denials for Norman in the majors.

In all, 88 players will tee it up, 7 of them amateurs. The field is split: 44 golfers from the US and 44 international players. And 8 of them are former Georgia Bulldogs.

Russell Henley is the first ‘Dawg to go out at 8:36 am EDT. He is paired with crowd favorite and ‘92 champ Fred Couples, as well as Alex Noren from Sweden. He has made the cut 5 of the previous 6 times he’s entered with a best finish of T11 in 2017.

Kevin Kisner is next at 8:48 am along with Adrian Meronk (Poland) and Louis Oosthuizen. Kiz has made the cut in 5 of 7 Masters, but his top showing was T21 in 2019.

Keith Mitchell starts at 9:12 am EDT and will be playing with Sergio Garcia (2017 winner) and Kazuki Higa of Japan. “Cashmere Keith” is playing in his 2nd Masters, having finished T43 in 2019.

Bubba Watson goes off at 9:48, competing against Seamus Power of Ireland and Mateo Fernandez de Oliveira of Argentina (Latin American Amateur champion). Bubba has played in 14 previous Masters, having donned the Green Jacket in both 2012 and 2014. He has only missed one cut in those attempts.

Chris Kirk goes off at 10:06 am, and he is paired with Abraham Ancer and Keegan Bradley. Considering he has 5 PGA Tour wins in his career, this is surprisingly only his 4th Masters appearance. He’s made the cut twice, and his best year was 2014 when he tied for 20th.

Sepp Straka is early in the afternoon wave at 12:12 pm. He will be playing with The Carolina Eastern of Pitt County University Harold Varner, and Kyoung-Hoon Lee of Korea. This is the 2nd straight Masters for Straka, and he did well in his debut last year (T30).

Harris English is a couple of groups later at 12:36 pm. He will tee it up with long-hitting New Zealander Ryan Fox, and becoming-more-likeable-but-still-eating-boogers Billy Horschel. He’s played in 3 other Masters, making the cut in 2. In 2021, English had his best finish of T21.

Brian Harman is the last Georgia product to tee off Thursday, and he begins at 1:00 pm EDT. He has his work cut out for him, as he faces Joaquin Niemann who was playing some of the best golf in the world this time last year. And the mad Englishman Tyrell Hatton, who while in good form of late, talks to himself, his caddy, the ball, anyone who will listen. Almost incessantly. It is entertaining. Harman has a tie for 12th (2021) in his 4 other starts at Augusta.

Some other groups of note and their tee times:

Group 12, 10:18 am EDT. Tiger Woods, Viktor Hovland, and Xander Schauffele.

Group 14, 10:42 am EDT. Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Cameron Young.

Group 15, 10:54 am EDT. Cameron Smith, Hideki Matsuyama, Sungjae Im.

Group 27, 1:24 pm EDT. Matthew Fitzpatrick, Collin Morikawa, Will Zalatoris.

Group 28, 1:36 pm EDT. Scottie Scheffler, Max Homa, Sam Bennett. The Masters continues its tradition of pairing the reigning US Amateur (Bennett) with the defending Masters Champion (Scheffler).

We’ve broken away from our normal ‘Dawgs on Tour format, because you know the dates, you know the defending champ, you know all the fun facts, you know it’s on CBS, you know ESPN and the Masters app will give you more coverage that you can possibly digest, and you don’t care what the purse is. This is the Masters. Enjoy. And as always...