Ernie Els is in­vited to Au­gusta Na­tional, but not to play Masters

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS -

Ernie Els says he re­ceived an in­vi­ta­tion to Au­gusta Na­tional for the first week in April. It just wasn’t an in­vi­ta­tion to play in the Masters.

Els had to clar­ify a tweet from Sun­day that said: “Thank you for a Great Xmas present! @ TheMasters Can’t wait!” That led sev­eral me­dia sites to post sto­ries that Els, a four- time ma­jor cham­pion, had re­ceived a spe­cial ex­emp­tion into the Masters.

In­stead, the 48-year-old South African re­ceived a let­ter wel­com­ing him as an honorary in­vi­tee. His five-year ex­emp­tion into the Masters from win­ning the 2012 Bri­tish Open ended last year. Au­gusta Na­tional has a tra­di­tion of invit­ing past ma­jor cham­pi­ons as honorary guests for the week.

Els tweeted Mon­day: “Wanted to clar­ify my ex­cite­ment get­ting an in­vite from @TheMasters. Work con­tin­ues to qual­ify to com­pete!

Au­gusta Na­tional oc­ca­sion­ally awards ex­emp­tions to in­ter­na­tional play­ers, but those typ­i­cally are given to play­ers who are not full PGA Tour mem­bers and have mul­ti­ple av­enues to qual­ify on their own.

Among ways for PGA Tour mem­bers to qual­ify for the Masters are win­ning tour­na­ments that of­fer full FedEx Cup points, reach­ing the Tour Cham­pi­onship or get­ting into the top 50 in the world rank­ing at var­i­ous cut­off points.

“The in­clu­sion of Honorary In­vi­tees has been a great tra­di­tion at the Masters Tour­na­ment for many years,” Au­gusta Na­tional chair­man Fred Ri­d­ley said. “This com­ing year the list in­cludes Ernie Els, and we are once again ex­cited to wel­come him and all of these dis­tin­guished guests to Au­gusta Na­tional in April.”

The Masters pays homage to ma­jor cham­pi­ons more than any of the other ma­jors by giv­ing them spe­cial ac­cess as honorary in­vi­tees that in­cludes two club­house badges, a $ 1,000 hon­o­rar­ium and a gift to com­mem­o­rate them be­ing there.

Honorary in­vi­tees used to be able to play prac­tice rounds and com­pete in the Par 3 Tour­na­ment, a prac­tice that ended last year.

Els failed to qual­ify for the 2012 Masters and was not given a spe­cial ex­emp­tion.

File, Dave Thomp­son / AP

Ernie Els has been cho­sen by Au­gusta Na­tional as an honorary in­vi­tee. His five-year ex­emp­tion into the Masters from his 2012 Bri­tish Open vic­tory ended last year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.