In an article entitled “From the Cayman Islands to Augusta National, Meet the Most Improbable Participant in the 2022 Masters,” Sports Illustrated tells the unlikely story of Cayman’s very own Aaron Jarvis and his rise to the world’s golf elite, as the first golfer from the Cayman Islands to make it to the Masters.
Scheduled for April 7-10 2022, the Masters is the first major of the year.
The event is one of the four major championships in professional golf, always held at the same location, Augusta National Golf Club, a private course in the city of Augusta, Georgia.
Aaron Jarvis became the first golfer from the Cayman Islands to be awarded an invitation to participate in the Masters at Augusta National and the British Open at St Andrews after he won the 2022 Latin America Amateur Championship (LAAC) in the Dominican Republic on January 23 this year.
At the time, Jarvis was ranked the 1669th amateur player in the world, and was playing against the top junior golfers in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. It was his second LAAC, having played in 2019 at the same course, finishing in 50th position.
Golf writer, Bob Harig, interviewed Jarvis for Sports Illustrated, referring to the 19-year old as “yet another prime example of what Augusta National was trying to accomplish when it launched the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2009 and followed with the Latin America Amateur Championship in 2015.”
To have a player win who hails from a country such as Cayman and its lack of golf pedigree offers the opportunity to spread the game to a place that is less familiar with the sport.
The article goes on to highlight the lack of competition that a talented player located on a small island like Cayman would be up against– but yet Jarvis has held his own on the international stage.
Prior to his win, Jarvis won three world amateur golf ranking events in 2020, when he was 17, including the boys overall title at the South Florida PGA Junior Open at The Naples Beach Resort & Golf Club.
Jarvis, who is currently attending University of Nevada Las Vegas where he is a freshman on a golf scholarship, was credited by Golf Digest as ambitious with an exceptional track record in the game.
Jarvis described the first time he visited the golf course at Augusta to Harig:
It was pretty special seeing it for the first time. The course was long and soft which it won’t be for the tournament obviously. It was nice to see what shots I need to play as much as can. It gave me some great experience.
When I was there, I was like, ‘Oh my Gold I can’t believe I’m in here.’ I thought it would get more normal but that’s going to take some time…
Participation in the Masters Tournament is by invitation only, and the tournament has the smallest field of the major championships.
Invitees include all past winners, recent major champions, leading finishers in the previous years’ majors, leading players on the PGA Tour in the previous season, winners of full-point tournaments on the PGA Tour during the previous 12 months, leading players in the Official World Golf Ranking and some leading amateurs.
The field next week will include 91 players, with a great deal of speculation that Tiger Woods will take part and make a surprise return to golf.
Jarvis will be joining 15 other first time players, including Talor Gooch, Harry Higgs, Tom Hoge, Min Woo Lee and Sam Burns who is ranked number 10 in the world. 1979 was the last time a first-time participant won the Masters, when Fuzzy Zoeller shot 70-71-69-70 and won in a playoff over Tom Watson and Ed Sneed.
According to Golf Digest, The Masters is the home to many firsts.
It was the first 72-hole tournament to be spread across four days. The first tournament to use leader boards and first to implement the over/under scoring system. The first golf event to introduce grandstands and gallery ropes. It was the first tournament to be broadcast on radio, the first broadcast in color on television, the first to be broadcast in 3D and in 2019 was the first tournament to allow fans to see every shot hit on every hole.
The first Caymanian to play at the Masters.