Although Masters champions could theoretically play in the Major for life, there was some doubt as to whether this would be the case LIV golf Players in 2023.
That question was finally answered in the months leading up to the tournament and when Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley confirmed that LIV golfers will be allowed to compete in the first Major of the year.
While that opened the door for 18 LIV golfers Competing in 2023, six of them are doing so thanks to their previous victories in the tournament. This is how they wrote their names in the history books.
Phil Mickelson – 2004, 2006, 2010
The LIV golfer whose name is most synonymous with The Masters is Phil Mickelson. In fact, the American’s appearances in the tournament have been so regular that while he was embroiled in controversy at the time, it came as a bit of a surprise when he did appear in 2022 missed the tournament for the first time in 28 years.
Mickelson wore them Green jacket three times, first in 2004 after one-shot displacing South African Ernie Els after potting an 18-foot birdie on the 72nd hole. While Lefty failed to record consecutive wins after finishing 10th the following year, it wasn’t long before he won again. In 2006, Mickelson had risen to the top of the leaderboard by the end of round three, and despite bogeying on the final hole, had earned a two-shot victory over Tim Clark.
The following three years brought a tie for 25th, a tie for fifth, and an outright fifth place finish before Mickelson’s 2010 hat-trick in the Augusta National victories. He then beat another player who would eventually sign for LIV Golf, Lee Westwood, three shots after pulling away from the Englishman in the last nine of the final round.
Charl Schwarzel – 2011
The year after Mickelson’s last Masters win, Charl Schwarzel only took the title on his second appearance in the tournament. The final lap was a rollercoaster ride with eight players sharing the lead at various points. However, Schwartzel prevailed, aided by an eagle in the third and four birdies to end his round of 66.
Schwarzel was the third South African to wear the Green Jacket, after Gary Player and Trevor Immelman. In 2017 he was close again but eventually had to settle for third place behind Justin Rose and another later LIV golfer, Sergio Garcia.
Bubba Watson – 2012, 2014
Schwarzel was not able to repeat last year’s form at the 2012 tournament and shared 50th place. Yet another later LIV golfer, Bubba Watson, clinched his first Major win after beating Louis Oosthuizen – who would one day also play on the circuit – in a playoff. Watson has been competitive throughout the tournament and eventually clashed with Oosthuizen and Matt Kuchar in the final round. After Oosthuizen and Watson edged out Kuchar to head for a playoff, Watson took the honor after his opponent narrowly missed a par on the second hole.
Two years later, Watson was back. As in 2012, he was solid throughout and after a back-and-forth with Jordan Spieth in the front nine of the final round, he extended a two-shot lead that eventually turned into three as he wrapped up the win, leaving Spieth and The Swede Jonas Blixt has to settle for second with a draw.
Sergio García – 2017
It took Spaniard Garcia 19 tries to win his first Masters, but he finally pulled off the feat by beating Justin Rose in a playoff three years after Watson’s last win. The final round wasn’t without controversy as some TV viewers thought Garcia’s ball moved when he cleared some pine straw on the 13th. Masters Officials investigated the incident but determined there would be no penalty and eventually defeated Rose after a birdie on the first playoff hole.
That was Garcia’s only major win to date, and he hasn’t come close to a second Masters title since then, missing three out of four cuts in his five appearances between that win and the 2023 tournament.
A year after Garcia, another future LIV golfer, Patrick Reed, celebrated his only Major win to date. After a two-shot lead in the third round, the American consolidated his title thanks to a round of 67, including four birdies and two eagles on Saturday to go three shots clear going into the final day Career Grand Slam– Hunt for Rory McIlroy.
Reed wasn’t nearly as safe on Sunday, hitting a round of 71 that included three bogeys, but it proved just enough to parry Rickie Fowler’s challenge in one shot.
Dustin Johnson – 2020
Dustin Johnson came close to winning the Masters once before 2020 finally coming over the line. The American had four top-10 finishes, including a tie in second place the year before, which eventually made a win at Augusta National seem inevitable.
Johnson got off to a blistering start with a lap of 65 to keep him in the lead with Paul Casey and Dylan Frittelli. He then shared the lead on a lap of 70 with four others going into Day 3. Another 65 saw him to a four-shot lead that had grown to five by the end of the tournament. Sungjae Im and Cameron Smith trailed him as Johnson claimed his second and youngest-ever major.
Source : sports.yahoo.com