The 86th Masters is the first to contain two Baylor School alums who qualified for golf's ultimate stage.
Only one, however, will be playing later this week.
Harris English and Luke List earned the always coveted invitations, but English has been battling a right hip injury since his sensational 2020-21 PGA Tour season and announced in mid February that he had undergone labrum repair surgery. The four-time winner on tour and victorious 2021 Ryder Cup member revealed last week via Twitter that he would be unable to compete at Augusta National.
"I'm progressing very well from recent hip surgery, but I have to exercise caution as I return to play," said English, a former Baylor boarding student who has earned more than $22 million in his professional career. "I look forward to joining my friends and fellow competitors on the PGA Tour soon."
That leaves List carrying the torch for the Red Raiders, who have been represented in five of the last nine Masters including this one. English played in the 2014, 2016 and 2021 events, tying for 21st last April with an even par 288 to pocket $119,600, while Keith Mitchell earned a spot at the 2019 Masters by winning the Honda Classic several weeks earlier.
Mitchell tied for 43rd at the Masters, earning $44,850, and his 1-under 287 is the lowest four-round total for any Baylor alum at Augusta.
"I actually saw Harris this morning, and he was in really good spirits because he wasn't in pain," Mitchell said Monday afternoon. "With Luke, if you look at his talent — and I mean this as the biggest compliment possible — he's probably one of the most talented players on the PGA Tour. His natural athleticism plays into how far he hits the ball and how his natural swing is incredibly good.
"Luke's heard that his whole life and has honestly been fighting it, which puts more pressure on yourself, making it harder to win. The fact Luke broke that mold as a player took the monkey off his back."
List is in his first Masters since 2005, when he was a Vanderbilt University sophomore and shot a 6-over 294 to finish in a tie for 33rd. The former Ringgold and current Augusta resident earned his invite in late January at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, where he defeated Will Zalatoris in the first hole of a sudden-death playoff.
His 17-year gap between Masters appearances is the second longest behind the late Bruce Fleishner, who went 23 years between the 1969 and 1992 events.
"I'm ecstatic to be going back," List said after returning from Torrey Pines. "It's tough to live here and not be in the field, but it is what it is. There are so many players who play their whole lives without this opportunity."
List had more than 200 career PGA Tour starts before claiming his first win.
Qualifying for this year's Masters for English occurred on a whopping four different fronts — finishing in the top four of last June's U.S. Open, winning last June's Travelers Championship in Connecticut, qualifying for last season's Tour Championship and having a spot among the top 50 in the final World Golf Rankings for 2021.
Baylor has four alums currently on the PGA Tour with English, List, Mitchell and Stephan Jaeger, so perhaps some combination of those Red Raiders will match or even surpass what Milton High in the Florida panhandle accomplished during the 2008 Masters, when Panthers alums Heath Slocum, Bubba Watson and Boo Weekley qualified.
Had Mitchell, who is 28th in this week's FedEx Cup standings, advanced out of group play late last month at the WGC Dell Technologies event in Austin, Texas, and won his first match-play round to reach the quarterfinals, he would have become Baylor's third alum to receive a 2022 Masters invite.
"This year would have been as close as possible to have matched that," said Mitchell, who grew up in Riverview. "Next year, if Harris progresses from his injury and Luke's game keeps progressing and I can limp in as the third wheel behind those two, I would be excited.
"I'll limp into the Masters any day."
Contact David Paschall at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6524.