Ernie Els will not accept a special invite to the Masters.

No matter what happens in the next couple of days, three-time Major champion Ernie Els will not be in the field for the Masters, even in the unlikely event that he is offered a special invite to play.

Els has played his socks off in the last few weeks trying to earn his spot in the field for Augusta. If not for a dodgy putter, especially inside ten feet, Els more than likely would have qualified for the Masters.

He had top-five finishes in the Transitions Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, as well as a tie for 12th this week in the Houston Open. It is testament to how sweetly he is hitting the ball at the moment that he can get near the top of the leaderboard even while struggling with his putter.

Els needed either to win a PGA Tour event or to regain his spot in the world’s top 50 to gain automatic qualification to the Masters. He only managed to get back to 58th by the cut-off date, and his valiant struggle to win a tournament is documented above.

Having gone through all of that, the Big Easy has made the decision that he would not accept a special invite from the Augusta committee at the last minute.

"To go through all of this and then get an invite, I wouldn't take it. They can keep it. It's not going to change my life either way. I've played many out there – it's one of those things."

Chances of Els receiving a special invite to the Masters

There wasn’t much chance of Els being offered an invite however, as Ryo Ishikawa was already offered a spot a month ago, and the only non-Asian golfer to receive a special invitation in the last 10 years was Greg Norman in 2002.

In a lot of ways I respect Ernie’s decision, especially because he is playing so well, but it is a bit of a bitter pill to swallow because I would love to see him in the Masters this weekend.

Do you think Els is bluffing? If offered an invite would you prefer he stick to his guns and turn it down, or suck it up so that we can see him on the fairways of Augusta?

  • Mikesp

    If Ernie has not been misquoted, then it sounds like he is mentally tired, and probably not in the best frame of mind to play.

  • Sassie Vanmali

    Ernie should accept if offered

  • PVC

    Why must he be invited ? He does not deserve it. This game is all about results. The only thing that counts is the scoreboard.  He must sort out the yips.  JOHAN

  • Take your medicine..

    Ernie is correct, it is best to earn your spot at The Masters. He will be under a lot of pressure if he takes an invite. It can also create  president if you invite one person and not another like Retief or nr 51 on the list. I would be very surprised if Ernie gets an invite. The rules makers of The Masters committee are staunch, and correctly so. 

  • jimian

    True gentleman is Ernie, and correct decision 100%. He like all professional golfers would have loved to be in the field but the simple fact is that he did not do sufficiently well to gain automatic entry into the field. The plus factor for Ernie is that he will be in a position to put his feet up and rest and be in peak condition by the time the real Major (Open Championship) comes upon us.

  • carrim

    he has not played well as he is a choker like all the other south africans.look at louis he was leading and choked on the last day.menatally they dont have it.

    • Colin

      I notice that Louis has gone to number 28 in the World Rankings. But I suppose that doesn’t compare with your top 10 rating as a turd.

    • Kiernan150

      Hi Carrim – clearly you don’t watch much golf – in the last 50 years South Africa is 2nd behind to the USA in major titles…

    • Mark Lindstrom

       You twit

  • Baxter

    Suck it up? WTH do you mean? Is this some stupid April Fool’s joke. The WG Rankings are a doos and EE should be there. The Master’s should go back to an invitation rule only.

  • Erap

    Correct decision. As a true sportsman he knows he has not earned the right to be there. There will be another day

  • Tshoonraad

    Ernie has made the correct decision . Rules are rules and he hasn’t qualified… he can try again next year.

  • Merciameister

    It is sad that he won’t be going! But I think his decision addresses the principle. The acceptance of an invitation at this late stage would be demeaning and I think Ernie is bigger than that. I respect his decision and rate him even higher as a player for taking this stance.

  • Deon Bakkes

    You never give up the opportunity to play in a major. You gotta be in it to win it!! The Ernie is playing, he could well win the Masters but only if he’s in th field.

  • WG


    I wish I was a choker like Ernie, only 60 odd wins world wide.

  • Ian

    Hi Ernie, Oefen bietjie aleenlik met jou ‘mik’ of ‘skiet-oog! Dit het het my geweldig te holpe gekom. Voorspoed Broer!

  • McDuck

    I agree – Ernie rightly so accepts the fact that he did not qualify. He has gone up even more in my estimation however for trying so hard. The Master will just not be the same without him but there are several other South African Golfers who we can root for.
    I don’t know what Carrim has against South African Golfers and why he is always referring to them as chokers. Get lost man.

  • Tom

    Right decision Ernie, I back you all the way, you will have many more chances in the future-no doubt about that. Keep on playing well and win tournaments, you’re putting is good, it is misreads of teh line to put on, maybe you should have your eyes tested like Retief-it may be just worth trying.

  • Ian

    Translation: Practice putting and only using your ‘aiming’ or ‘shooting-eye’ in aligning  the ball and cup. Also at arm’s length, by holding up a finger or thumb, and checking with the aiming eye at a target and then the other eye to note the diff. Ernie knows these drills but it’s always worth trying a few different techniques. Best wishes!

  • Mary-Ann

    Years ago Monty raised a very vaild point. He never got an invite although Asians way up in the 100-something ramks did. He tiraded to the press that it’s all about money; that they extended special invites to certain golfers without which they would not have got that nation’s TV rights. Ernie won’t get an invite because SA viewership is sealed. And if he does, it’s because worldwide there is huge support for him to get it and he is a drawcard. I admire his decision, but in the same  same breath, take it and win the damn thing Ernie!

  • Rsummers

    What are we talking about. Ernie has not had an invitation so there is nothing to turn down. Lets get real.

  • Howesag

    The good life is catching up with our beloved Ernie. It is well documented what he and his wife are doing for Autism but there are too many stories going of other aspects of his life which should we say are not quite in balance. It is incredibly hard to stay hungry and humble enough given the lifestyle that Ernie lives. IT JUST MAY ALL BE CATCHING UP WITH HIM …………. Keep on trying Ernie.

    • RamsayMedia Admin

      That is quite a harsh sentiment considering how well he is playing at the moment. He has two top-5 finishes in his last three events on the PGA Tour, while supposedly not being able to putt. That is VERY impressive.

  • Jeffg

    The way he is playing, if invited he is a potential winner if putter works, and he likes those greens.

  • Paul Glover

    Ernie must also think of his fans who would love to watch him play in the Masters, and his form is improving…well worth the late nights to see Ernie back to his winning ways… AT THE MASTERS.