Montgomerie pins Masters snub on not being Chinese

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The Independent Online

Over the years Colin Montgomerie has made the occasional statement that has send eyebrows sky-bound, but yesterday's claim that he would be teeing it up at next week's Masters if he were only Chinese was hard to refute.

The Scot will miss Augusta for only the second time in 17 years after slipping down to No 75 in the world rankings when he needed to be in the top 50 before yesterday's qualification cut-off point. But while 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).

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