Three-time major champion Ernie Els and two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen are two of the notables that have yet to qualify for the Masters.
After the final official week of tournaments around the world, the bulk of the 2012 field has been set, while obviously there are still a number of ways to earn the elusive invite. One of the ways for a ticket to Augusta is to finish in the top 50 in the world rankings at the year end.
Jim Furyk sneaked in to snag a spot as No. 50 in the world. He began the year ranked No. 5, but struggled for most of the season until rallying in the fall to regain some of his form.
Other players getting into the Masters by way of the world ranking were Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Alvaro Quiros, K.T. Kim, Simon Dyson, Sang-moon Bae, Rickie Fowler, Francesco Molinari, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, according to the AP.
Now, of course, Els and Goosen still have two ways to land an invite to the year’s first major — either by winning a PGA Tour event before the Masters (except the tourneys held opposite the WGCs), or by making their way into the top 50 in the world rankings published the week before the Masters.
Others still looking to qualify include Ryo Ishikawa (No. 51), Ben Crane (No. 54), Ryan Moore (No. 57), Matteo Manassero (No. 58…whom we’ll probably see play several times in America to get in the top 50 like he did last year) and Robert Allenby (No. 59). Notables whose rankings have fallen further are Anthony Kim (No. 75) and Camilo Villegas (No. 89).
The Masters boasts the smallest field of the four majors and the green coats prefer to keep it at less than 100 players. So far, at least 91 guys have earned invitations, though a number of past champions who are past their prime won’t play. In 2011 the final field included 99 players. Last time it exceeded more than 100 was in 1966 when there were 103.