Last chance to punch ticket for the Masters

April 01, 2010|By Teddy Greenstein | Tribune reporter

You won't find this on MapQuest, but the road to Augusta actually goes through Houston.

For those who dream of playing the 2010 Masters but have yet to get a postmarked invitation, this weekend's Shell Houston Open represents a final hope. The winner gets in.

Last week the Masters field added Louis Oosthuizen and K.J. Choi. The South African-born Oosthuizen won a European Tour event to move into the world's top 50; Choi tied for 17th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational to remain in the top 50.

For Masters purposes, that top-50 list is now frozen. Adam Scott ranks 51st, but he secured a spot in the season's first major by winning the 2009 Australian Golf Open.

Davis Love III, meanwhile, needs to be low man at Redstone Golf Club this weekend to make the field.

Last year the 20-time PGA Tour winner missed Augusta by a single shot, when Pat Perez knocked him out of the top 50 by barely clearing the rocks that protect the 18th green at Bay Hill.

Last week Love faded to a tie for 14th at Bay Hill after firing an opening-round 66.

"(The Masters) is always in the back of your mind," said Love, who ranks 82nd in the world. "Or the front of your mind."

Presidential pardon: Fred Couples and Greg Norman will return as captains of the U.S. and International teams for the 2011 Presidents Cup, at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia.

"My year is just getting better and better," said Couples, who has won three times this season on the Champions Tour and led the Americans to a 19 1/2 -14 1/2 victory in 2009 at Harding Park in San Francisco. A 'great' foursome: NHL legend Wayne Gretzky, Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees and Hollywood hot-shot Mark Wahlberg will be the celebrities in this year's Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge.

Brees, with a 3 handicap, figures to have a chance to break 80. "The Great One" carries a 10, and Wahlberg plays to a 14. NBC will air the event on June 20.

They'll tee off from the U.S. Open tees at Pebble Beach with one of five finalists selected from among 24,860 entrants. For the first time, one of the contestants is a woman: Peggy Ference, from Skillman, N.J.

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