APRIL 2, 2012
Els Misses Chance To Get Into Masters Field
HUMBLE, TEXAS | Ernie Els saw his
quest for his 19th straight Masters
appearance come to an end Sunday
when he failed to win the Shell Houston
Open, his final chance to qualify for the
2012 Augusta National field.
“I feel like I’m playing well, but just
didn’t get the ball in the hole soon
enough,” he said after a final-round
“It is what it is. I played in enough of
them, it’s not going to change my life.”
He added he had resigned himself to
the fact he wouldn’t be getting a special
invitation and would have to win this
week to get in.
“They better not ask me now, they’ll
be getting a ‘no’ coming back. To put me
through this and then invite me,” Els said.
Els first played in The Masters in
1994 with his best finish a second in
2000 and 2004.
His plans for next week include staying
at home with his wife and kids and watching The Masters on TV like he annually did
before he became a world golf superstar.
“I’m playing well, I just need to work
on being more consistent.”
Ernie Els does not believe he will receive a special invitation to The Masters.
Rookie Bud Cauley won’t be playing
in this week’s Masters, but the young
player picked up another milestone in
what should be a stellar career. Despite
a final-hole bogey, he recorded his first
career back-to-back top- 10 finishes
after a T4 two weeks ago at Bay Hill.
“You want to win out here, but getting
top 10 shows you’re getting close,” the
former University of Alabama All-American said of his fourth top 10 in 19 events.
It’s the eternal argument between
playing the week before a major championship or practicing at home or on
the tournament site.
While four-time Masters champion
Tiger Woods and Ireland’s Rory McIlroy
stayed far away from the Houston Open
to prepare for this week’s Masters,
three-time winner Phil Micklelson was
just as adamant playing last week in
Houston was the way to ready himself.
“I like to play live in competition before a major and this is a good course
for that,” Mickelson said.
Last year, he won the Houston Open
then finished T27 in The Masters. He
also is the last player to win the week
before a Masters victory with a win in
BellSouth Open in Atlanta in 2006.
Neither Steve Stricker nor Rickie
Fowler has won a major championship, but both are convinced playing at
the Houston Open, regardless of their
ultimate performance, was their best
way to prepare.
“Of course, you want to do well this
week, but you have to make sure your
game is sharp for the first major of the
year. Playing competitive rounds is the
best way,” said Fowler.
“You’ve got to hit some shots under
pressure,” Stricker added. “Then when
you get to Augusta, you have the best
way to assess your game.”
Hunter Mahan said the time spent
in Houston last week helped him fill the
void before his first major of the year.
“The hardest part of The Masters
is Monday through Wednesday when
you’re just sitting around,” he said.
“I thought about not coming here for
about one second, but I think Augusta
Of course, there were those players
who had little choice but to play this
“I always took the week off to get
ready for Augusta, but because of the
situation I’m in (without a 2012 invite),
that’s why I’m here,” Ryan Palmer said.
Continuing a personal tradition nearly
20 years old, since returning to his ad-
opted hometown from Washington, D.C.,
former president George H. W. Bush made
his regular visit to the tournament on Sat-
urday afternoon at Redstone Golf Club.