Rickie Fowler has plenty riding on his performance this week in the Mayakoba Golf Classic, starting with an assurance of playing in the Masters for the 11th straight year.
Fowler is among four players on the bubble for finishing the year in the top 50 in the world ranking, a qualification for getting invited to the Masters. With a strong field at Mayakoba, and two weeks left on the European Tour schedule, he needs points to avoid falling out of the top 50 by the end of the year.
Fowler, who started the year at No. 23, is at No. 49. Just outside the top 50 are Kevin Streelman, Chez Reavie and Russell Henley, all playing Mayakoba. And then there's Will Zalatoris, who can move up the ranking more quickly with fewer tournaments on his ledger. He is at No. 60.
Not to be overlooked is the European Tour. Lee Westwood is at No. 48 and playing the next two weeks in Dubai. Ian Poulter is No. 46. He is playing next week in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which will have stronger ranking points. And at No. 51 is Matt Wallace, who is playing the next two weeks in Dubai.
For those who finish the year outside the top 50, Augusta National also takes the top 50 from the ranking a week before the Masters. Even so, that's one invitation that is nice to have in hand before the new year starts.