Two veterans who haven’t played in Augusta in some time and a second-year PGA Tour member making
his first ever start in a major are among 10 golfers with ties to Georgia who will be competing in the
Augusta native Charles Howell is playing in the Masters for the first time since 2012 and making just the
second start in his hometown in more than a decade, while Duluth’s Stewart Cink last played in Augusta
in 2014. Both will be in the field this year, along with Masters rookie Keith Mitchell, a recent PGA Tour
winner in the Honda Classic and a St. Simons Island resident.
Among the 10 golfers with ties to the state are four Masters champions, among them 2018 winner
Patrick Reed, who led the Augusta State Jaguars to back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2010 and ’11.
Mitchell is one of three former Georgia Bulldogs in the field, with Cink one of three ex-Georgia Tech golf
team members. Howell is one of two native Augustans competing, with 1986 Masters champion Larry
Mize, also a native Augustan, possibly making his last start in the tournament
Howell played in the Masters seen straight years from 2002 to ’08, but has qualified for his hometown
major just once since in 2012. He earned his spot in this year’s field with a victory late last Fall in the
RSM Classic at Sea Island GC, his first win since he beat Phil Mickelson in a playoff in Los Angeles in
During his 20 seasons on the PGA Tour, Howell has been a consistent money winner, but his victory at
St. Simons Island in 2018 was just the third of his career. He was among the tour’s top players in his
early and mid 20s, but for the past decade, has settled into a productive and predictable rut of posting a
lot of solid finishes but no wins until last Fall at Sea Island GC.
Thanks to his victory and a trio of other top-10 finishes plus three more top 20s, Howell is sixth in the
FedExCup standings. As usual, he has put up quality stats in most categories, and is among the top 20 in
putting, usually not among the strongest aspects of his game.
In 45 career starts in majors, Howell’s best finish is a tie for 10 th in the 2003 PGA. His best finish in
Augusta was a tie for 13 th in ’04, and he tied for 19 th in his last start in the Masters in 2012.
Cink last played in Augusta in 2014 when his five-year exemption for winning the 2009 British Open ran
out. This will be his 18 th career start in Augusta, and he has compiled a consistent record in the Masters,
placing among the top 30 a total of 11 times, including a third place showing in 2008. He earned his
2019 invitation with a tie for fourth in the PGA Championship last year, his first appearance in that event
after a three-year absence.
Since his playoff win over Tom Watson at Turnberry in ‘09, Cink has not added to his career total of six
victories on the PGA Tour, and after more than a decade as one of the game’s top players, he has not
enjoyed that level of success since has major triumph.
Cink played better in 2017 and ’18 than he had in recent seasons, but has struggled thus far in 2019, and
is just 157 on the points list after missing three straight cuts in Florida. His ball striking stats this season are not very positive, and with his 46 th birthday approaching, Cink is facing the possibility that this may
be his last Masters.
Mitchell will be making his first Masters start at the age of 27, and will be one of three Georgia Bulldogs
in the field. After two seasons on the Web.com Tour, Mitchell enjoyed a successful rookie season as a
PGA Tour member last year, finishing second in the Dominican Republic and tying for third in the Byron
Nelson after a final round 63, ending up 68 th on the points list.
Thanks to his victory in the Honda Classic and a tie for sixth the next week at Bay Hill, Mitchell is 17 th in
the FedExCup standings. He ranks among the top 10 in strokes gained driving, but is just 176 th in putting.
Mitchell began the 2018-19 season with a pair of top-25 finishes in the Fall and another to start 2019 in
Reed won the 2018 Masters at the age of 27, and has placed among the top 10 in the FedExCup
standings four times in his first seven seasons on the PGA Tour. He has six wins and five runner-up
finishes in his young career, but has struggled a bit this season, posting scores of 78, 77 and 75 in his last
three rounds in Florida. He is 200 th in fairways hit and 161 st in greens in regulation after a missed cut in
In his first start of 2018-19, Reed tied for seventh in a WGC event in China last Fall, and played
respectably in the recent WGC tournament in Mexico. He has been a consistent top finisher in majors in
recent years, recording six top-25 showings before placing second, first and fourth in three consecutive
U.S. majors in 2017 and ’18.
Bubba Watson, one of the three ex-Bulldogs competing in Augusta, won the Masters in 2012 and ’14,
two of his 12 PGA Tour titles since 2010. Watson, who is in his 14 th season on the tour, has won three
times each in Los Angeles and Hartford along with his two victories in Augusta and two in WGC events.
In the majors, Watson has been hit or miss during his career, with just one top 10 in each of the three
U.S. Grand Slam events apart from his two Masters victories. He lost in a playoff in the 2010 PGA
Championship, but did not have a non-winning top 10 in a major until a tie for fifth last year in Augusta.
Coming off a three-win season in 2018, Watson is 51 st on the points list this season, tying for fourth in
Phoenix and Tampa. He is second on the tour in driving distance and third in strokes gained off the tee,
two positive stats in his favor coming into the Masters.
Zach Johnson won at Augusta National in 2007 and the British Open at St. Andrews in 2015, but that
remains his last victory. Johnson, a St. Simons Island resident, has 12 titles in 16 seasons on tour and has
finished in the top 10 of the FedExCup standings three times and in the top 20 on four other occasions.
Apart from his Masters victory in ’07, Johnson’s only other top 10 in Augusta was a tie for ninth in 2015,
one of just two times he has made the cut the past five years. He is not off to his best start this season,
standing 117 th on the points with a T7 in last Fall’s RSM Classic his only top-20 finish. In 14 rounds in
Florida, Johnson shot in the 60s once, with his stats for the season pretty dismal across the board.
Mize, a long-time Columbus resident, has played in every Masters since 1984, tying for 11 th in his first
appearance and placing sixth in 1992 and third two years later. At the age of 60, Mize is nearing the end
of his Masters career, but remains competitive on a lengthened Augusta National layout, making the cut
three times in the last five years.
Mize, one of three former Georgia Tech golfers in the field along with Cink and Matt Kuchar, won four
times during his PGA Tour career and once since joining the Champions Tour, along with three victories
in Japan between 1988 and ’90.
Kuchar has collected nine victories in his 19 PGA Tour seasons along with 31 finishes of third or better,
among them a T3 in Augusta in 2012 and a solo second in the 2017 British Open. Kuchar has placed in
the top 10 in the Masters four times over the past seven years, tying for fifth in 2014 and for fourth in
Since 2010, Kuchar has been one of the game’s consistently best players, qualifying for the Tour
Championship eight straight times before missing out last year. After going 4 ½ years without a win,
Kuchar won twice in two months in late 2018 and early ’19 in Mexico and Hawaii, and leads the
FedExCup standings after his runner-up finish last week in the WGC Match Play Championship.
Kuchar, one of four St. Simons residents in this year’s Masters, has won several high profile tournaments
in his career, among them a Playoffs event in 2010, the Players in ’12 and the Match Play Championship
in ’13, but is still looking for his first major title at the age of 40.
Kevin Kisner, an ex-Georgia Bulldog, will be making his fourth straight Masters start, and has made the
cut in all three, with a T28 last year his best finish. Kisner placed in the top 20 in the FedExCup standings
from 2015 to ’17, winning twice in that span including the RSM Classic in the 2015-16 season.
The Aiken, S.C. resident has a pair of close calls in majors the past two seasons, tying for seventh in the
2017 PGA and for second in last year’s British Open. The runner-up finish at Carnoustie is one of eight
times he has finished second since 2015, including four losses in playoffs.
Kisner is 13 th on the points list after defeating Kuchar in the finals of the Match Play Championship, his
third PGA Tour title. Kisner was coming off a string of six straight stroke play events in which he finished
26 th , 28 th , 27 th , 23 rd , 22 nd and 24. His best showing this season prior to his Match Play triumph was a tie for
seventh in the RSM Classic last Fall.
Patton Kizzire, a St. Simons resident, will be making his second Masters start, missing the cut last year in
his debut. This is his fourth year on the tour, and he had a pair of runner-up finishes in his first two
seasons before winning twice in 2017-18 in Mexico and Hawaii. He finished last year 15 th in the
FedExCup standings, but fell to 30 th after the Playoffs to narrowly qualify for this year’s Masters.
Kizzire is 80 th on the points list, with his best showings a tie for 15 th last Fall at Sea Island GC, followed by
finishes of 8 th and 13 th in the two events in Hawaii to open the 2019 portion of the schedule.