Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Monty: Being Chinese = Getting Into Masters

As you know, probably, Colin Montgomerie didn't get into the Masters this year after a last ditch effort to try to get into the top 50 in the world or win on the PGA Tour in recent weeks. He finished at 75th in the world rankings for the cutoff. He was not given a special invitation to the tournament. And Monty was very unhappy about it. He was so unhappy, that he decided - as a White Anglo Saxon Protestant - to play the Ethnicity Card.

[W]hile lower ranked players from China, Thailand and India have received special invitations to play the first major of the season, the 44-year-old said he will be at home "washing his car". And he revealed that that is because the Asian countries have huge television markets.

"There has been no call from Augusta and I am not expecting one," he said in Munich at a promotional event for June's BMW International Open. "Now, if I were the only person in the country, à la China, I might get in. It is a strange way to make up a field for a Major championship – television rights. They are quite open about why. They were when I missed out last time in 2005 when they picked Shingo Katayama who was 67th in the world and I was 51st. They picked him over me for the Japanese rights. And they have done the same with Thailand and China this time.

"I am not the only one who feels that way and not just because I am not in. In or not I'd be saying the same thing. It is a strange criterion to pick a major field.

"The Masters is the only one you can get invited to. At the Open, the US Open and the USPGA you have to qualify. But the Masters have their own rules so we will leave them to it. It would be easier to swallow if no one was invited and it was done on sporting and not commercial criteria."

The players receiving special invites are Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand (world No 93), Liang Wen-hong of China (111) and Jeev Milkha Singh of India (80).

Obviously, Monty does not have intentions of ever getting a special invitation to the Masters under any circumstance. I find it hilarious that he went the route he did in claiming that he should have been invited to play in the tournament over players like Jeev Milkha Singh - a golfer that is clearly having a better 2008 than Monty and, in my mind, had a better 2007 as well.

The world golf rankings are a 24 month measure of performance, and it is through that level of consistency that one gets invited to play in the Masters. It makes sense that Augusta would go that route. At the same time, it also makes sense for them to use special invitations on fan favorites at the event and for those global golfers that are beginning to blossom - like the aforementioned in the piece.

I find it interesting that Monty went through the furious exercise that he did to get into the Masters. He must have known that there was no way that Augusta would invite him on his own.

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