When the 52nd masters golf tournament begins Thursday at Augusta, a little over 3 percnet of the field will be golfers with Utah ties.
Orem resident Keith Clearwater will be making his first Masters appearance, Provo resident Mike Reid will be making his second, while Billy Casper, who has lived in Utah for nearly two decades, will be playing in his 32nd Masters.
Missing from this year's field will be Johnny Miller, who lives in Salt Lake, Provo's Dan Forsman and former BYU golfer Rick Fehr, all of whom werein last year's field.
It's surprising to think that Reid, with all his success over the years, is playing in just his second Masters. In his only previous appearance in 1981, Reid failed to make the cut. Since then, despite his success, he's never met the tough qualifying standards.
Just 90 players are invited to the exclusive tournament. Qualifying standards for the Masters are perhaps the most stringent of any tournament on the PGA Tour outside of the World Series.
If you don't happen to be a former champion or one of the last five champions of the U.S. Open, British Open or PGA, in order to qualify you must be: a winner on the PGA Tour the past 12 months; one of the top 30 money-winnersfrom last year; a top-24 finisher in last year's Masters; a top-16 finisher in last year's U.S. Open; a top-eight finisher in last year's PGA; a member of the most recent American Ryder Cup or Walker Cup teams; a winner of one of the last two U.S. or British Amateur tournaments; a semifinalist in the 1987 U.S. Amateur; or a non-American player lucky enough to be invited at the discretion of the committee.
Reid qualified for this year's Masters by winning the Tucson Open last fall, and he's been playing well ever since. At the Players Championship two weeks ago, he finished second to Mark McCember and pocketed $135,000. Reid currently stands 10th on the money list with just under $204,000 in earnings.
In 1987, Clearwater had a fabulous first year, winning twice, at the Colonial National and the Centel Classic, as he earned $320,000 and rookie of the year honors. This year, he ranks 50th on the money list with nearly $58,000 in earnings.
Casper plays regularly on the Senior Tour, where last year he won two tournaments and more than $200,000. Casper, who has been playing in the Masters since 1957, was the winner in 1970 in a playoff over Gene Littler and has finished in the top 10 seven other times.