What Is the Asterisk on the Masters Scoreboard? About the Symbol

Bianca Piazza - Author

Apr. 10 2023, Published 1:43 p.m. ET

The 2023 Masters Tournament came to a close on April 9, 2023, and champion Jon Rahm — who beat out Brooks Koepka and Phil Mickelson — took home his first single-breasted Green Jacket, not to mention $3.24 million. According to Fox, Jon Rahm is the fourth man from Spain to win the tournament, after Seve Ballesteros, José María Olazábal, and Sergio Garcia.

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Though we know Jon shot a three-under 69 in the final round to win the 87th Masters Tournament, following a golf leaderboard isn't an easy feat for casual golf appreciators — you know, ones who don't know their bogeys from their eagles. More specifically, the Masters scoreboard periodically displays asterisks next to players' names. What does this indicate? We're here to explain.

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What does an asterisk mean on the Masters scoreboard?

Per SportsRec, an asterisk next to a player's name on a golf leaderboard indicates that said player started at the back nine of the golf course that day. The back nine refers to the last nine holes on an 18-hole course. If a player's name doesn't boast an asterisk on the leaderboard, said player teed off at the front nine that day. Naturally, the front nine refers to the first nine holes on an 18-hole course.

So, why does this matter? It's about adding context to a player's score. As put by SportsRec, if "a player who started on the back nine finishes the 18th hole with a score over par or even par, he still has nine more holes to try to get his number of strokes under par."

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After five-time Masters winner Tiger Woods made the cut during the 2023 Masters, he played Saturday's third round with an asterisk beside his name, as he began at the 10th hole, per Golf Digest. It was during the third round that Masters officials "decided to use two tees to help get players around."

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Often, groups of players begin at the back nine to speed up the game. If every player started at the first hole, completing a round would take roughly double the amount of time. Even a frivolous mini golf course gets clogged when players are waiting for the next twisty hole.

Additionally, players may start at the 10th hole because of a looming storm, hoping to finish the round before bad weather hits. In fact, heavy rain and high winds impacted the second and third rounds of the 2023 Masters.

As reported by NBC, groups of players were instructed to head out "in threesomes off the first and 10th tees" for Saturday's third round, as there was nearly a 100 percent chance of rain all day. Unfortunately, play was suspended until Sunday due to the weather. None of the 54 players completed the third round before play was shut down.

Following inclement weather and fallen trees, Jon Rahm won the tournament on a beautiful Sunday evening.

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