FILE- In this Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014 file photo, Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, celebrates after winning the US PGA Championship golf tournament at Valhalla Golf Club, in Louisville, Ky. This was the year that the Northern Irishman established himself
David J. Phillip, File
December 22, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) Rory McIlroy was among 90 players who already have qualified and are expected to compete in the 2015 Masters.

The 90 players is the same number eligible at this time a year ago. A total of 97 players started the 2014 tournament. Augusta National prefers the field to be under 100 players.

McIlroy was eligible in nine of the 12 categories available to professionals. The exceptions were the lifetime exemption for Masters champions, the three-year exemption for winning The Players Championship and top four and ties from the 2014 U.S. Open.

Players still can qualify by winning a PGA Tour event (except for the Puerto Rico Open) or getting into the top 50 in world ranking one week before the Masters.

The Masters is April 9-12.

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