AUGUSTA, Ga. – Scottie Scheffler can play in the Masters forever now. That’s a perk that comes with winning at Augusta National.
Cameron Champ knows he can play at Augusta National in 2023. For him, that was a win as well.
Champ finished tied for 10th at the Masters, and that means he’ll be invited back next season. Augusta National has plenty of ways for players to qualify — wins, world ranking, performance in other majors — plus rewards those who do especially well at the Masters. Anyone in the top 12 one year can come back the following year, so Champ knows that invitation will be in the mail as next spring looms.
“It’s huge,” said Champ, whose Masters invite this year came by winning the 3M Open last July. “This year has been just a whirlwind really for me, with my injury to trying to play through the first four, five events to now feeling pretty decent the last few months. My game is going in the right direction.”
Champ shut down his season last fall while dealing with a left wrist injury. He came into this week ranked No. 133 in the world. He hadn’t had so much as a top-40 finish in 2022. A Masters return, barring a victory somewhere in the next 12 months, wasn’t exactly a certainty.
“Everything I’m dealing with off the course is finally going right, so first and foremost, that’s the most important,” Champ said. “It’s just life, man. I’m learning as I go. Right now, I’m just in a great spot.”
Rory McIlroy earned $1.62 million for finishing second, and that pushed his Masters career earnings to just about $4.2 million.
He is the seventh player in Masters history to eclipse the $4 million mark, joining Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson.
Scottie Scheffler won his first Masters in his third attempt. Only eight players did it in the first or second try, most recently Danny Willett in 2016.
The context only adds to Scheffler’s accomplishment.
Tiger Woods’ first Masters win came on his third visit to Augusta National. Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson and Seve Ballesteros needed four tries. Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player needed five.
Tiger Woods said Sunday that he will go to St. Andrews in mid-July and play the British Open.
It’s unclear if he’ll play anything before then — including the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in May and the U.S. Open at Brookline in June.
“I am looking forward to St. Andrews,” Woods said in his post-Masters interview with Sky Sports. “That is something that is near and dear to my heart. I’ve won two Opens there. It’s the home of golf. It’s my favorite golf course in the world. So, I will be there for that one. But anything in between that, I don’t know. I will try. There’s no doubt.”
Woods won British Opens at St. Andrews in 2000 and 2005. He played when the Open was last there in 2015 but missed the cut by eight strokes.
Harold Varner III saved his best for last in his first Masters: a 3-under round of 69 on Sunday. He finished 3 over for the week.
He was within six shots of the lead after 36 holes, then shot an 80 on Saturday. But he bounced back on Sunday, chalking it all up as part of his Masters education.
“I wouldn’t say a springboard. I just think it’s a part of the process,” Varner said. “It’s a part of having a chance to win. Yesterday was tough, obviously, what I shot, but just how can I grow from that and learn from that? The cool part about today is I think the pins will be in similar spots next year when I’m here, and I’ll know kind of what to do, get a good feel for what I need to do to score.”
It might be an ideal weekend for sports fans: see a Premier League soccer match one day, attend the Masters the next.
Harry Kane did it one better.
Kane played in Tottenham’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday — and he was at the Masters as a patron on Sunday.
It was hardly the only golf-soccer crossover moment at Augusta National on Sunday. Seamus Power revealed that he was asking for scores — during his round. Given that nobody has phones on the course, scores weren’t exactly easy to come by.
Masters champion Scottie Scheffler picked up $2.7 million for the victory, pushing his career total at Augusta National to just over $3 million in three appearances. That’s good for 13th in Masters history. ... Rory McIlroy’s 64 on Sunday matched the best final round in Masters history, done on seven previous occasions. The others were Maurice Bembridge (1974), Hale Irwin (1975), Gary Player (1978), Greg Norman (1988), David Toms (1998), Bo Van Pelt (2012) and Jordan Spieth (2018). ... The next Masters takes place April 6-9, 2023. ... There was no silver cup presented to the low amateur this year, because none of the six who were in the field to start the week made the cut.
More AP Masters coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/the-masters