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The Masters has handed rare invitations to three golfers ahead of this year’s event in April, with one afforded to a LIV Golf star.

Last year marked the first time since 2019 that special invitations were extended to compete in the iconic tournament.

Gordon Sargent and Kazuki Higa accepted offers to compete in their first Masters, while a trio of new non-exempt players have now done the same.

Today, Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, announced that Chilean Joaquin Niemann is one of them.

“The Masters Tournament has a long-standing tradition of inviting leading international players who are not otherwise qualified,” Ridley said.

“Today’s announcement represents the Tournament’s continued commitment towards developing interest in the game of golf across the world. We look forward to welcoming each player to Augusta National this spring.”

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It’s the first time since 1999 that the season’s opening major has awarded three special invitations in one year. 

Thorbjorn Olesen and Ryo Hisatsune will join Niemann in the field, which consists of 83 players, as of February 21. 

Olesen is set for a fourth start in the Masters, with 21-year-old Hisatsune ready to make his debut at Augusta National. 

Meanwhile, Niemann – who has been on the hunt for a place in the green jacket contest – will compete in the event for a fifth time. 

Last month, the 25-year-old Torque GC captain hit out at the ‘unfair’ Official World golf Rankings (OWGR), keeping him out of the major championships. 

He competed in three DP World Tour events between November and January in a bid to secure enough ranking points to qualify for the Masters. 

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Niemann finished fifth in the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship before winning the ISPS Handa Australian Open in December. 

Ahead of a T4 finish at the Hero Dubai Desert Classic, he said: “It is pretty unfair right now what the world rankings shows. 

“It says the top 100 players in the world right now, but I don’t think this is the right ranking…I am going to Dubai for the DP World [Tour] just because of [ranking] points and to try and get into the Masters.” 

His win in Australia earned a spot in the Open Championship at Royal Troon in July, while it looked unlikely that he would be able to qualify for the Masters in time. 

The only remaining ways to qualify are to win an upcoming PGA Tour event that awards a full point allocation or be in the top 50 on the OWGR published during the week prior to the tournament. 

The 2024 Masters will mark the 88th playing of the tournament and is scheduled for April 8 – 14. 

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John Turnbull A graduate of the University of Stirling, John joined the bunkered team in 2023 as a Content Producer, with a responsibility for covering all breaking news, tour news, grassroots content and much more besides. A keen golfer, he plays the majority of his golf at Falkirk Golf Club. Top of his 'bucket list' is a round of Pebble Beach... ideally in the company of Gareth Bale.

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