April 10, 2014
This week, at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., the 2014 Masters Tournament will host 97 players from 21 countries. Among the field full of the world’s top golfers are 42 players who competed in AJGA events.
Nineteen former Masters champions will compete this year, of which five are AJGA alumni. On the opposite side of the spectrum, 14 of the 24 first-time invitees are former AJGA juniors, and two of the six amateurs recently concluded their AJGA careers.
Notable alumni to keep an eye on
Phil Mickelson, named the Rolex Junior Player of the Year three times, Mickelson competed in 26 events and boasts 12 victories. Additionally, the No. 5 golfer in the World Golf Rankings served as a Player Representative on the AJGA Board of Directors and as a National Chairman on the Board 20 years later. Mickelson has seen much success at the Masters Tournament, winning the event three times in seven years (2004, 2006, 2010).
Jordan Spieth, a three-time Rolex Junior All-American, received his first amateur exemption in 2010 for the HP Byron Nelson Classic making him the first player since 1995 to receive an amateur exemption into the event. Spieth made headlines in 2013 after winning the John Deere Classic and becoming the youngest player to win on the PGA TOUR. Following his first professional win, Spieth went on to tally nine top-10 finishes on TOUR and earn the PGA TOUR’s Rookie of the Year Award.
Bubba Watson, a three-time Rolex Junior All-American, tallied 17 top-10 finishes in national competition during his junior career. Watson has five PGA TOUR wins, including one in Augusta at the 2012 Masters Tournament. Currently No. 5 in the FedEx Cup rankings, Watson is poised to build on a win earlier this season at the Northern Trust Open.