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Nationality goes against Els

GOLF: If only Ernie Els had thought to change his nationality from South African to Chinese it could have all been so different this week.

Instead of having to win the Houston Open to be part of the action at the Masters next week, the former world number one might have joined Japan's Ryo Ishikawa in receiving a special invitation.

Augusta National chairman Billy Payne said on adding the 20-year-old to the field earlier this month: "Historically, the Masters has invited international players not otherwise qualified to expand the tournament's global reach.

"Ryo Ishikawa is an accomplished player on the Japan Golf Tour and we believe his presence will help increase interest."

Colin Montgomerie, never shy of voicing his opinion, said: "It's a strange way to make up a field for a major championship - TV rights."