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Masters field is finalised after Players

Augusta officials expect around 94 players to tee off at the Masters next week.

Jay Haas, Tom Lehman, John Houston, Kirk Triplett and South Africa's Tim Clark all received late invitations for breaking into the world's top 50.

And Chad Campbell will make his Masters debut after moving up to eighth in the US money list following the Players Championship at Sawgrass on Sunday.

Eight past champions are expected to decline their invitations, although Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer - with nine Masters wins between them - will make their 43rd and 49th Augusta starts respectively.

Haas, 49, earned his place after finishing joint second at Sawgrass last week.

"I love hitting balls on the range there," he said of Augusta National. "The turf is so great.

"Just the whole atmosphere gets me pumped up - the first Major of the year, the history, you name it.

We will count on our champions to know when their playing careers at the Masters have come to an end

Augusta National chairman Hootie Johnson

"There's 50 different things that get me excited about being there."

Augusta chiefs, meanwhile, have shelved plans to tighten the tournament's qualification criteria for ageing past champions.

Last April it was declared that former winners over the age of 65 would not be invited to compete from 2004 onwards.

But Augusta National Golf Club chairman Hootie Johnson announced on Monday that the decision had been reversed.

"After discussions with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, the club has decided not to implement the past champions qualification change next year," said Johnson.

"Arnold, Jack and I agree that past winners should be able to play as long as they'd like, so long as they feel they remain competitive.

"We will count on our champions to know when their playing careers at the Masters have come to an end."

 

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