NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) – With the worldwide schedule winding down, the Asian Tour's Thailand Golf Championship should be the last chance for a few players to get into the top 50 by the end of the year and get a spot in the Masters. On the bubble this week are Matthew Fitzpatrick (No. 49), Lee Westwood (No. 56), K.T. Kim (No. 58), Shingo Katayama (No. 61) and Jamie Donaldson (No. 68), who would have to win.
Fitzpatrick would appear to be safe barring a bizarre sequence of events. That means 13 players will be added to Augusta National at the end of the year, which is consistent with the previous five years. And that would be 89 qualifiers (including the Latin America Amateur winner next month) going into 2016.
A year ago, 90 players were eligible at the end of the year, and the Masters had 98 players tee it up in April.
The Masters prefers a small field, and it has not had more than 100 competitors since 1966.
BUBBA'S RETIREMENT: Bubba Watson once said he would retire if he reached 10 victories, which he clarified Sunday after winning the Hero World Challenge with his ninth worldwide victory. It has to be 10 wins on the PGA Tour.
And then he threw in a caveat.
"If I ever become No. 1 in the world – ever, somehow – I'm walking away," he said. "I'm going to walk away on top. But let's be honest. Nobody here is voting on that, right? Everybody thinks I'm not going to do that."
DIVOTS: Former USGA President Judy Bell and Canadian amateur Marlene Stewart Streit have accepted invitations to be honorary members of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club. ... The year didn't end without a big win for Stacy Lewis. According to Golfweek magazine, Lewis got engaged to Houston golf coach Gerrod Chadwell, who proposed to her over Thanksgiving. ... Colorado Golf Club will host the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2019. It last held the Solheim Cup in 2013. ... The Country Club of Charleston was given its biggest event yet when the USGA said it would host the U.S. Women's Open in 2019.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Billy Horschel is the only American who will have to rely on top 50 in the world at the end of the year to qualify for the Masters.
FINAL WORD: "We all have something out here that someone else wants." – Jimmy Walker.
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