Two international players – one familiar face, one not so familiar – have been added to the 2013 Masters Tournament field.
Ryo Ishikawa, of Japan, and Thaworn Wiratchant, of Thailand, recently accepted invitations, Augusta National Golf Club and Masters chairman Billy Payne announced Friday.
The current Masters field consists of 85 players who represent 21 countries and includes 16 first-time participants and six amateurs.
“Through our established qualifications, and invitations to select international players not otherwise qualified, we historically bring together a collection of the world’s top players, and this year is no different,” Payne said
in a prepared statement.
“The Masters has long established a tradition of supporting the global game, and we were excited to extend invitations to Thaworn Wiratchant and Ryo Ishikawa, who we hope will provide added interest and enthusiasm for golf in Asia through their participation in the tournament.”
Wiratchant is not a household name for American golf fans. The 2012 Asian Tour Order of Merit winner will be making his Masters debut at the age of 46. He holds the Asian Tour record for most career victories with 15. His most recent victory came at the Hero India Open last October.
Wiratchant, known for his unorthodox swing, has never competed in a major in the United States. He has played in the British Open twice, and his best finish was a tie for 31st in 2006.
Ishikawa, 21, is more familiar to Masters patrons. He will be making his fifth consecutive start at Augusta National, and his third time thanks to a special invitation reserved for international players.
This time, Ishikawa finished strong on the Japan Golf Tour with a victory and three other top-10 finishes in his final five starts of 2012.
Ishikawa’s best Masters finish was a tie for 20th in 2011.
Golfers can still get into the Masters, which will be held April 8-14, via two routes.
They can win a PGA Tour event that awards a full-point allocation for the season-ending Tour Championship prior to the 2013 Tournament, or they can finish in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking published during the week prior to the Masters.
Both Wiratchant (No. 68) and Ishikawa (No. 75) are currently ranked outside of the top 50 in the world rankings.