Golf Today Home Page All the latest golf news Coverage of all the worlds major tours For all your golfing needs Golf Course Directory Out on the course Golf related travel Whats going on
Worldwide Feature Articles

Gabriel Hjertstedt to receive Masters invite

Augusta National Golf Club decided today that Gabriel Hjertstedt will be counted among those in the top 40 on the 1999 PGA Tour money list, which makes him eligible for The Masters. Hjertstedt finished No. 41, but moved up to qualify because the late Payne Stewart was seventh on the money list.

The Masters still can invite international players at its discretion, which could be announced by the end of the week. Other than that, the field for the most exclusive major championship is just about set.

Under a new set of criteria fully effective this year, the only way a player not already on the list can drive down Magnolia Lane is to be among the top three on the PGA Tour money list, or the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking, four weeks before The Masters.

Gone is the longtime policy that a PGA Tour victory included an invitation to Augusta. Six players who won on tour since the 1999 Masters -- Olin Browne, J.L. Lewis, Rich Beem, Tom Pernice Jr., Brad Faxon and Brian Henninger -- most likely won't get in.

While Augusta National has not released an official list, the majority of it was completed when the final World Ranking of the year was published. The top 50 in the world at the end of the year are invited, along with the top 40 from the money list.

Other qualifications include how players fared in the 1999 majors, major championship winners the past five years, and The Players Championship winner the past three years. Former Masters champions are invited for life.

The changes were made a year ago to ensure a stronger field.

Among those whom it helped were Skip Kendall and Scott Gump. Neither has won on the PGA Tour, although they finished in the top 40 on the 1999 PGA Tour money list.

The list of invitees does not include Paul Azinger, John Cook, Billy Mayfair and Mark Calcavecchia, who hasn't missed a Masters since 1986.

Mayfair, No. 52 in the World Rranking, and Calcavecchia, No. 58, have the best chance to get into The Masters provided they play well on the West Coast in January and February.