There will be at least 25 Europeans present at the 2007 Masters tournament in Georgia next April, after the initial list of invitees was confirmed by the Augusta National Golf Club on Monday. There is no more official golf to play in 2006 and, according to tournament rules, the top 50 players in the world at the end of the previous calendar year receive automatic invitations along with the traditional exemptions granted to Major winners and previous Masters champions. These initial invitations will be sent out this week, and never before have so many been posted to Europeans.
Welshman Bradley Dredge (pictured) is one of the 17 players already confirmed as debutants. Dredge leapfrogged fellow Briton Justin Rose by just 0.01 ranking points this week – enough to push recent winner Rose down to 51st position and secure a first crack at the Green Jacket for Dredge.
England’s Kenneth Ferrie, Scottish amateur Richie Ramsay and Swedish duo Robert Karlsson and Johan Edfors will also be making their debuts in the glamorous event, which runs from April 5-8 next year. US Ryder Cup players Brett Wetterich and JJ Henry will also make their first appearances, while Volvo Masters winner Jeev Milkha Singh – who has climbed from 376th to 37th in the official world rankings this year – will become the first Indian to play at the Masters.
All is not lost for Rose. Augusta National will also evaluate the world’s top 50 players at the end of March 2007, when any players featuring in that list that have not already received an invite will be added to the tournament line-up. Of the former champions, both Charles Coody and Nick Faldo have already announced that they will not be taking part – though it is unclear at present whether or not their places will be opened up to others.
US MASTERS – INITIAL EUROPEAN INVITEES
Augusta National, 5-8 April 2007
GB&I unless stated
S Ballesteros (Spa), T Bjorn (Den), P Casey, D Clarke, L Donald, B Dredge, J Edfors (Swe), N Faldo – declined, N Fasth (Swe), K Ferrie, S Garcia (Spa), J Guerrier (Fra), P Harrington, D Howell, MA Jimenez (Spa), R Karlsson (Swe), B Langer (Ger), S Lyle, C Montgomerie, JM Olazabal (Spa), C Pettersson (Swe), I Poulter, R Ramsay, H Stenson (Swe), L Westwood, I Woosnam