Montgomerie misses an invite to the Masters ball

Over the years, Colin Montgomerie has learnt not to expect too much from the Americans, apart from the odd heckle, of course, concerning his weight, his mood and even his gender. So when it was announced yesterday that the Scot they call "Mrs Doubtfire" would almost certainly not be receiving a special invitation to next week's Masters it hardly caused him to smudge his mascara or throw his pink-rinsed wig to the ground in disgust.

Over the years, Colin Montgomerie has learnt not to expect too much from the Americans, apart from the odd heckle, of course, concerning his weight, his mood and even his gender. So when it was announced yesterday that the Scot they call "Mrs Doubtfire" would almost certainly not be receiving a special invitation to next week's Masters it hardly caused him to smudge his mascara or throw his pink-rinsed wig to the ground in disgust.

Nevertheless, you will not find many in the golfing world who are not aggrieved that the player with one of the most recognisable names, frames and, indeed, games will not be appearing at Augusta for the first time in 14 years. Not least among them is the Ryder Cup captain, Ian Woosnam, who yesterday spoke of his frustration that a player who is almost certain to be one of his key men in Dublin in 18 months' time would not be there to fly the triumphant European flag.

Such is the bizarre nature of this sport and its shameless love affair with its past champions that the non-playing captain, who admits his best days are several light years behind him, has a berth in the year's first major but his star performer does not. Imagine Sven Goran Eriksson playing in the Champions' League, while David Beckham is stuck at home.

"Yeah, it's a shame because Monty's been one of the great golfers over the last 15 years and I think he's played good enough this year to deserve a wildcard," said Woosnam, who will play next week by dint of winning there in 1991. "But, you know, someone's got to have it [the wildcard]. It's just a pity it's not Colin."

And that is the fact that has been the cause of much disquiet that has been confined to a whisper only because of the infamous touchiness of the Masters committee, whose sole wildcard choice this year is the Japanese Tour's Order of Merit winner, Shingo Katayama, despite him being almost 30 places behind Montgomerie in the world rankings. Last year, Zhang Lian-Wei was the lucky recipient when he became the first Chinese player to appear at Augusta, a decision viewed largely as being made for commercial reasons.

It is difficult not to apply the same cynical logical to this year's choice, although the good denizens of Magnolia Drive would claim that Montgomerie has never won a major, only made last year's Ryder Cup as a captain's pick and, most tellingly of all, has a ranking of 54 that is not good enough to warrant an automatic spot. But, while all this is true, as one European Tour source said yesterday: "If Monty had come from a part of the world seen as having the key to the next golfing goldmine, and not from Scotland, then he would have been an absolute shoo-in."

At least Padraig Harrington, another Ryder Cup hero, seems almost certain to take his place. Last week, Harrington had ruled himself doubtful at The Players Championship as he rushed home to be with his father, Paddy, who is suffering from inoperable cancer. But there was good news from Dublin yesterday, when the 72-year-old was deemed strong enough to be discharged from hospital.

In the countdown to Augusta, it has been easy to forget that there is a golf tournament about to start; quite easy actually seeing as what we have just north of Atlanta is the golfing equivalent of Mr Puniverse with Charles Atlas due next on stage.

That, perhaps, is a tad unfair to the Bell South Classic, which can boast two of the world's top five - Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen - as well as Britain's newly highest-ranked player, Luke Donald, in the field, although from the comments circulating around the hazy air of Sugarloaf Country Club yesterday, it is obvious where the attentions lie. "Hopefully, I'll be able to play well this week and get some momentum for next," said Mickelson, the reigning Augusta champion.

Even Woosnam seemed far from up to it, despite the 47-year-old only having played a handful of tournaments this year. When asked what shape his game was in, he replied: "What game? I'll be happy to make the cut and get myself in shape for Augusta." What Montgomerie would give for such a luxury.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
music

News
Russell Brand at an anti-austerity march in June
peopleActor and comedian says 'there's no point doing it if you're not'
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Voices
Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
voicesThokozile Masipa simply had no choice but to jail the athlete
Arts and Entertainment
Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
music

Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Life and Style
The Tinder app has around 10 million users worldwide

techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album