Golf’s tradition unlike any other — the Masters Tournament — begins on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.
The 82nd playing features the tournament’s smallest field since 1997. But there won’t be any shortage of former Big 12 golfers roaming the sport’s most sacred grounds as the best golfers in the world set their sights on the coveted green jacket.
So as the golf world descends upon Amen Corner and every other spectacular vista the course has to offer, will your favorite Big 12 school have a former player in the field?
We have the list of the universities from the conference that will be represented by at least one golfer. Only four Big 12 schools made the cut, with one boasting four golfers at Augusta this week.
Jimmy Walker (1997-2001) — Walker, 39, turned pro in 2001 and has earned 6 career wins on the PGA Tour. Walker won the PGA Championship, his first and only major, in Summer 2016. His best previous finish at the Masters came in 2014 when he tied for 8th.
Gary Woodland (2003-2007) — A native of Topeka, Kan., Woodland posted four tournament victories as a Jayhawk before turning professional in 2007. Woodland, 33, has posted three PGA Tour wins in his professional career — most recently winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February. His best finish at Augusta was a tie for 24th at the 2011 Masters Tournament.
Alex Noren (2001-2004) — Noren, 35, hails from Stockholm, Sweden and has nine wins on the European Tour. Noren came achingly close to his first PGA Tour win earlier this year at the Farmers Insurance Open in La Jolla, Calif., but lost in a playoff after six holes. He missed the cut at Augusta one year ago.
Rickie Fowler (2007-2009) — Fowler, known for sporting his Oklahoma State orange on Sundays, needs no introduction for Cowboys fans. The 29-year-old has four PGA Tour wins in his career and will be seeking his first green jacket, let alone a major victory, after posting multiple top-5 finishes already this season. His best finish at the Masters was a tie for fifth place in 2014.
Dylan Frittelli (2008-2012) — Frittelli hails from Johannesburg, South Africa — but ventured overseas to play at Texas, where he was part of the Longhorns’ NCAA national championship team in 2012. Frittelli has made himself at home on the European Tour, where he has notched two tournament victories. He’s making his first career appearance in the Masters this week, and started off the week on a high note with a hole-in-one during the Par 3 Challenge on Wednesday.
Doug Ghim (senior) — How about a current member of the Longhorns golf team taking aim at the green jacket this week? The Texas senior is making his first Masters appearance after finishing as the runner-up in the U.S. Amateur Championship. Ghim was named Big 12 Player of the Year in 2017 and shot a 69 in a previous trip to Augusta National with the team, so keep an eye out for him this week.
Jordan Spieth (2011-2012) — Is Jordan Spieth perhaps the greatest golfer the Big 12 has produced? Judging from the impact he has had on the game for those of all ages, quite possibly. The 24-year-old Dallas, Texas native — who also won a national title with the Longhorns in 2012 — already picked up a green jacket in 2015 at age of 21 and was in the final grouping during both the 2014 and 2016 Masters Tournaments, the former at the age of 20. With three major victories under his belt, Spieth has become the sport’s biggest sensation in recent years since Tiger Woods broke onto the scene in the 1990s.
Jhonattan Vegas (2004-2007) — A native of Venezuela, Vegas turned professional in 2008 after three years in Austin. He captured his first career PGA Tour victory at the age of 26 when he won the Bob Hope Classic in La Quinta, Calif. He has won on the PGA Tour twice since that inaugural victory in 2011, but hasn’t had the best luck at Augusta, failing to make the cut in his two previous appearances (2011 and 2017). Vegas achieved a career-best No. 35 world ranking during the 2017 season.