Augusta's us influence waning
AMERICA'S decline as a golfing superpower is underscored by the list of invitees for next week's Masters. For the fourth consecutive year, international players will outnumber US golfers at Augusta next week.
Five players had their invitations to the event formally confirmed after the weekend: Open de Andalucia-winner Louis Oosthuizen, his fellow-South African Charl Schwartzel, Alvaro Quiros of Spain, Korea's KJ Choi and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand.
There is just one potential place remaining -- if not already eligible, the winner of the Shell Houston Open this Sunday will earn an invitation to Augusta.
At present, 98 players are scheduled to participate, and just 45 are from the United States. Of the 53 international 'guests', 26 are European, including eight English and three each from Spain, Italy and Ireland.
This year's Masters' field is the largest since 1996, when 103 played. The biggest ever was in 1962, when 109 players earned invitations. Only four times since 1934 have the tournament numbers surpassed 100 competitors.