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Rickie Fowler loves Augusta National Golf Club more than any other golf course in the world. That’s why it’s been so hard for him to miss the Masters two years in a row.

The fan-favorite golfer hasn’t competed for a green jacket since 2020, and his chances of qualifying for the first major championship of the year looked slim heading into the 2022-23 PGA Tour season. Thanks to six top-20 finishes in his first 10 starts, though, Fowler had a chance to qualify for Augusta with a strong finish at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Unfortunately for the World No. 59, he fell just short of winning his group and won’t be able to move up enough in the Official World Golf Ranking to qualify this week. Now, a buzzer-beating win at the Valero Texas Open is his only path to the Masters in 2023.

Rickie Fowler failed to qualify for the 2023 Masters

Rickie Fowler hits a tee shot during the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Rickie Fowler plays his shot from the seventh tee during the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club on | Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Fowler entered the 2023 WGC-Match Play with two goals on his mind. One, of course, was to win the event. The other — a much more realistic option — was to rack up enough OWGR points to qualify for the Masters.

You see, the top 50 players in the OWGR after this weekend receive an invitation to Augusta National. The rest of the field is made up of past winners and players who have previously qualified for the tournament. Fowler needed to move up nine spots in the rankings at Austin Country Club, so he likely needed to crack the quarterfinals of the bracket-themed event.

He got off to a hot start by upsetting World No. 2 Jon Rahm in his first match of group play. Leading the group after Round 1, Fowler lost to Billy Horschel in his second match and defeated Keith Mitchell in his third match to finish group play with a 2-1-0 record. Solid, yes, but Horschel finished with a 2-0-1 record to edge out Fowler by a half-point.

By failing to win his group, Fowler won’t earn enough OWGR points to crack the top 50 on Monday. That means his time to qualify for the Masters based on OWGR points is up.

Fowler does have one last chance to punch his ticket to Augusta National, but it won’t be easy.

Rickie Fowler needs a last-minute miracle to qualify for the Masters

Fowler didn’t play in the Valero Texas Open for the first eight years of his PGA Tour career, but because he failed to qualify for the Masters in 2021 and 2022, he’s teed it up at TPC San Antonio in each of the last two seasons. The Valero Texas Open is the final stop on the PGA Tour schedule before the Masters, so it marks the last chance for golfers to play their way to Augusta National with a win.

That’s exactly what Fowler will need this week if he wants to compete for a green jacket for the first time in three years. The problem? He hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since the 2019 WM Phoenix Open.

Fowler’s play to start the 2022-23 season has been encouraging, but he still hasn’t proven he has what it takes to win at the highest level right now. And with a last-minute Masters invitation on the line, the pressure will only be higher.

The odds are against him, but maybe Fowler has some Masters magic up his sleeve this week.


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