Monty miffed at missing Masters
Colin Montgomerie will not be at Augusta due to what he describes as 'TV rights'.
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2008 19:14 GMT
Montgomerie failed to make the top 50, but players ranked below him will still be at Augusta [AFP] 
Colin Montgomerie's manager stepped in to defuse a potential row after the eight-time European number one criticised US Masters officials for inviting players for "television rights".
The 44-year-old Briton will miss out on next week's tournament at Augusta for only the second time since 1992, having failed to get in the world's top 50 who are automatically invited to the first major of the year.
"Colin completely understands Augusta's right to promote themselves," Guy Kinnings, Montgomerie's manager, told Reuters.

"The last thing he would want to do is show disrespect or tell them who they should or should not invite.

"He's done everything he can to be there, including changing his schedule, and he's just very disappointed because he values the tournament so highly.

"Now if I were the only person in the country, a la China, I might get in."

Colin Montgomerie

"He does, though, feel he makes an important contribution around the world in promoting golf."

Montgomerie was 75th in the world rankings when the Masters field was decided on Sunday.

However three Asian players below him, India's Jeev Milkha Singh (80th), Thailand's Prayad Marksaeng (93rd) and Liang Wenchong from China (111th) will all be at Augusta.

Billy Payne, Augusta chairman, said their invitations were "utilising the Masters brand", adding that interest in tournament from the countries of the three players would increase.

No call up

However Montgomerie had a different view on how players were selected to compete at the Masters.

"There has been no call from Augusta, but then I wasn't expecting one," Montgomerie told The Guardian website.

"There are enough Brits in the field, so there won't be a call. Now if I were the only person in the country, a la China, I might get in. It's a strange way to make up a field for a major championship - TV rights.

"They are quite open about why, just as they were when I missed out last time in 2005, when they picked Shingo Katayama, then 67th in the world.

"I was 51st [just one outside the automatic qualifying position] at the time. They picked him over me for the Japanese TV rights. Let me tell you, I am not the only one who feels this way.

"In or not, I would be saying the same thing. It would be easier to swallow if no one was invited and the entry list was based on sporting and not commercial criteria," added Montgomerie, whose best finish in a Masters was eighth in 1998 but has also had five runners-up spots in the other Majors.

The Masters gets underway on Thursday week with American Zach Johnson the defending champion.

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