Korean American professional golfer Kevin Na started golfing professionally in 2002 on the Asian Tour, winning the 2002 Volvo Masters of Asia before obtaining a PGA Tour card in 2004. Since 2004, he has won five tournaments on the PGA Tour between 2011 and 2021.
However in 2022, Kevin resigned from the PGA Tour in June 2022 to join the LIV Golf league. Many were surprised to see him in attendance at the Master's tournament, sparking the query: how did Kevin Na qualify for the 2023 Masters? And why did Kevin just as quickly withdraw from the competition? Keep reading for what we know.
How did Kevin Na qualify for the Masters?
The confusion around Kevin's appearance at the Masters is likely because LIV Golf members don't receive Official World Golf Rankings points for their events. According to National Club Golfer, there are technically 19 ways a golfer can qualify for the Masters, including attending previous Masters tournaments and winning the PGA Championship.
For Kevin, however, Sporting News says that he was invited to participate in the Masters after finishing 2022 in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings. Since Kevin joined LIV Golf, it's unlikely he would participate in 2024.
Why did Kevin Na withdraw from the Masters?
On April 6, 2023, in the middle of his first round, Kevin Na withdrew from the Masters tournament. After playing nine holes and facing off against Mike Weir, he decided to withdraw from the tournament due to an undisclosed illness according to a statement from the Masters.
Earlier in the week, Kevin spoke enthusiastically about his participation in the Masters, telling Golf Monthly, "It's a beautiful golf course. I love coming here. Obviously it's a special place."
He added, "I feel like you really need a good short game out here, and that's my strength of my game. I know where to miss it and what angles to play with the chipping and putting. I feel like even though I don't hit it as far, around the greens is kind of an equalizer for me out here."
With the Masters taking place in Augusta, Ga., he noted, "But I think I've played, what, four events, three LIV events and one Asian Tour event leading up to this week. I like it. I've got three kids at home, get to spend more time with the family. My family is here this week. We're going to enjoy the par-3 contest, and that's the highlight of the week for them. It's been great."
Fans wish Kevin a swift recovery and hope to see him back on the golf course soon!